Over a thousand candidates from across all the main political parties have made a public promise to oppose fracking in their constituencies as the General Election campaign enters its final days.
In just over a month, one in four of all candidates standing in the 2015 general election have rushed to make the Frack Free Promise. In 60 constituencies half of local candidates or more have signed up to the online initiative launched by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth in March.
There are 153 Labour and 143 Lib Dem prospective MPs who made the promise despite their party’s support for fracking being enshrined in their manifestos. They account for about a fifth of the candidates fielded by the two parties. The Lib Dem politicians involved include senior party figures such as seven members of its frontbench team and a former minister.
With just days to go before election day, three Conservative candidates have also added their names to the initiative, openly defying their party’s enthusiastic support for fracking.
The unprecedented display of fracking opposition among UK politicians will come as a blow to the shale industry’s attempt to gain public acceptance at a critical time for its expansion across Britain.
Ministers were expected to start a mass give-away of licence blocks to fracking firms across over half of Britain before the election, but the announcement has been pushed back until after May 7 amidst growing controversy.
Conservatives, Lib Dems, and Ukip have all confirmed their support for fracking in their election manifestos, whilst Labour’s backing remains conditional on tougher regulations being introduced. The Green Party and Sinn Fein are completely opposed to fracking, whilst SNP and Plaid Cymru have already called a halt to shale exploration in Scotland and Wales.
Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Sam Pearse said: “For the first time hundreds of candidates from all the main parties are saying a clear no to fracking rigs, trucks, and gas flaring turning up in their constituencies. This unprecedented display of opposition against fracking from our politicians is a sign that the tide is turning on this controversial industry.
“Fracking is not the answer to our energy needs. Instead of gambling our future on an unproven and risky industry that may never deliver, the next government should invest in the tried and tested clean technologies that can provide safe, home-grown energy for decades to come.”
Friends of the Earth Climate and Energy campaigner Donna Hume said: “With a thousand election candidates from all the main parties now taking the frack-free pledge, this issue is firmly on the election agenda. If voters want a cleaner future, they can check on our website to see if their local candidates do too.
“Politicians must make stopping climate change a top priority by leaving dirty gas and oil in the ground and investing in clean solutions to the energy challenges we face.”
The wording of the Frack Free Promise reads: "If my constituency is at risk of fracking, I will oppose it. If my constituency is not at risk, I will oppose fracking nationwide.”
Source: Click Green
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