Government policy on fossil fuel extraction

Letter to Robert Largan MP

Dear Robert,

We are very concerned about the energy policy that the new Government led by Liz Truss appears to be setting out, which appears to be radically different to the one previously pursued by the Johnson administration.  Although the continued stated commitment to reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050 is of course to be welcomed, it is what happens in the next few years that is crucial.

We know that we simply cannot afford to burn the already known fossil fuel reserves if we are to avoid climate catastrophe, so developing new sources would be perverse in the extreme.  The only way in which it could be justified would be if it were to be combined in some way with locking away alternative sources of fossil fuels beyond use, but there is no indication that this is to be done (and in any case may well not be possible).  

In this context, there are two aspects of Government policy which are very troubling.

First, the lifting of the ban on fracking.  Both the Prime Minister herself and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have expressed their support for fracking, and indeed have been quite dismissive, rude even, about the majority of the population who remain staunchly opposed.  Although they say the fracking would only go ahead with local support (without saying how that would need to be demonstrated), and although one can hope that here within the Peak Park it would not be permitted, the implications are wider than simply for the local area.

Fracking opens up another source of fossil fuels precisely at a time when we urgently need to wean ourselves off them.  Nor, of course, would fracking in the UK have any impact on gas prices, which are set at international level.  It would be far better, as well as quicker and cheaper, to invest more in renewable energy generation, and we are pleased to read that previous Government opposition to on-shore wind development is now no more.

We know you are yourself opposed to fracking, and we applaud you for that stance.  Please do all you can to oppose this change in Government policy.

The second issue is the announcement of a new oil and gas licencing round, which is expected to lead to over 100 new licences being granted for exploration in the North Sea (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-takes-next-steps-to-boost-domestic-energy-production).  Again, it would be completely perverse to be looking for new sources of fossil fuels when we know that we cannot afford to burn them.  It is unconscionable that we should even be considering this.

Hope Valley Climate Action, which continues to grow and now has nearly a thousand supporters, is committed to finding ways to mitigate climate change at local level, but also to doing all we can to influence national (and other) policy to make changes at a global level.  We look to you to oppose both of these proposals.

Best wishes

Dr Jeremy Wight

tel: 0780 350 70La MP

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