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TORY plans to give energy firms the go-ahead to frack will cause pollution equivalent to almost 300 million car exhausts, damning findings show.
Widespread fracking activities at hundreds of sites will release the equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gas emissions of nearly 300 million cars, Labour’s research revealed today.
Britain holds an estimated 1,400 trillion cubic feet in shale gas reserves, of which roughly 10 per cent should be recoverable through fracking.
The Tory ambition is for these reserves to be fully exploited, releasing over seven billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
This would have an environmental cost equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 286 million cars or 29 new coal-fired power plants, Labour said.
The emissions would also be equivalent to 6,000 flights to Pluto and back in a standard passenger aeroplane and 20 times our country’s entire annual emissions in 2017.
These projected emissions from fracking would overshoot Britain’s current annual emissions 20 times over, obliterating the country’s obligations under Paris climate obligations.
The findings were revealed as Jeremy Corbyn visited Lancashire, where residents and campaigners have been locked in a two-year battle to stop fracking by energy firm Cuadrilla.
He vowed that a future Labour government would ban fracking.
The Labour leader said: “The Conservatives’ fracking plans will damage our environment and fly in the face of community opposition.
“There is a clear alternative to fracking. Clean, renewable energy is the future of our economy and will create over 400,000 jobs as part of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution.
“Local communities in Lancashire and across the country are standing against fracking. In government, Labour will ban it once and for all.”
Cuadrilla is operating a fracking site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Its activities have caused dozens of recorded Earth tremors and rising levels of air pollution.
Claire Stephenson, of Frack Free Lancashire, said: “The intervention from Labour on the fracking debate is a welcome addition to the growing cross-party opposition to fracking.
“A High Court judge last month, ruled that the government’s policy on fracking was so ‘flawed in its design and processes as to be unlawful’ and that climate change must be considered.
“A report hidden for three years, written by the government themselves, even concluded that fracking increases air pollution and CO2 emissions. It was only published days after the government approved fracking in Lancashire.
“The government’s regressive position on energy and climate change must be strongly challenged: we want clean energy, climate justice and real action that goes beyond just platitudes.”
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that fracking is essential to meet Britain’s energy needs – ignoring the potential presented by sustainable energy production, such as wind, wave and solar power.
Fracking involves pumping a high-pressure toxic mixture of chemicals, sand and water into shale layers to shatter or fracture them to release profitable gas.
The practice also causes earthquakes and Earth tremors, despoils and industrialises the countryside and brings the risk of pollution of water supplies.
Shadow energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said Britain owes “an enormous debt” to communities in Lancashire, Yorkshire and elsewhere which have taken a determined stand against fracking firms and “prevented the Tories from pushing our country off a climate cliff.”
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