Nick Clegg gives fracking cautious support

Anti-fracking protesters in Balcombe Fears about fracking have already led to continued protests in Balcombe in west Sussex

Anti-fracking protesters remain camped in Balcombe - near the site where energy company Cuadrilla is carrying out exploratory drilling work in search of oil.

It's a contentious issue and the protests have led to dozens being arrested, including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Liberal Democrats' Energy Secretary Ed Davey has warned of the dangers of a dash for gas, but his party leader has now spoken out in support of the controversial process.

Nick Clegg said: "I think fracking is an issue of huge controversy in some communities; we've seen that in the South East and elsewhere where exploratory drilling has been taking place."

But he said he believes the government cannot afford to ignore the technology out of hand, as it could make a contribution to the UK energy mix and keep people's bills stable and low.

Start Quote

Support for fracking could do irreparable damage to some of the Lib Dems' core support”

End Quote Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

His coalition partners, the Conservative Party, have always been more supportive of plans to frack, which they say could help secure future energy supplies and bring bills down.

In fact many senior Tories believe fracking would already be under way if the man in charge of energy policy wasn't a Lib Dem.

Nick Clegg denies that and says the coalition is on the same page, with both partners believing that fracking can play a role in the future of energy supply but that it is not the solution.

However, Energy Minister and Tory MP for Bexhill and Battle, Greg Barker, is much more supportive.

He is travelling to Colorado next week to see how fracking operates in the US and how local residents deal with it.

With Liberal Democrats about to meet for their annual conference in Glasgow, the issue of green growth and green jobs will be on the agenda.

And the Lib Dems look set to give fracking their, albeit muted, support.

The problem for them is how that will play out with their grass roots - many of whom find the idea of fracking for gas completely unacceptable and believe it could damage the countryside for decades.

It could also do irreparable damage to some of their core support.

The Green Party started its conference in Brighton on Friday, the Conservatives hold theirs in Manchester, Brighton will host the Labour Party conference whilst the Liberal Democrats head to Glasgow for theirs and UKIP will gather in Westminster.

Louise Stewart Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Sorry typo in last comment - meant Clegg sold the expertise and contacts he gained as an MEP to the oil, gas and fracking corporation BG not that gained as an MP.
    Political lobbying by ex-MPs and ex-MEPs is nothing more than political prostitution and it is the planet who pays the price. 8(

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Nick Clegg whilst standing to be an MP used the knowledge he gained as an MP to make a fortune working as a lobbyist for the international fracking, oil and gas corporation BG.
    It is no surprise then that he sells out Lib Dems climate opposition on Fracking also. Friday's IPCC report shows that even existing oil and gas finds have to stay in the ground if the earth is to remain habitable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    #7 jack
    The carrier bag 5p charge is not about stopping you using them. It's a tax you can avoid if you try.
    Just a tax.
    Nothing to do with being green, if it was the logical thing would be to ban the bags, just like French supermarkets, years ago.
    Taxing shopping at 5p/bag raises money and adds RED tape i.e. costs.
    Nothing green about that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Could the BBC possibly commission an open-minded report investigating the “harm” fracking has done so far to this country, where it has been practiced for about 50 years, so far, including under a RSPB reserve in Nottinghamshire? They could also investigate the damage done by the 500,000 or so fracking sites in the USA, then broadcast the programme on prime time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    What will the BBC do when the wind does not blow and the lights go out?

    How will the BBC reconcile the deaths from hypothermia of those who cannot afford the ever-rising costs of imported energy with the known huge fuel reserves under our feet?


Comments 5 of 12


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