Wrexham MP slammed over Ukraine war fracking comments
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
A Conservative politician’s call for fracking projects to be revisited in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been slammed as “wasting more time”.
Writing on the Conservative Home website , Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton urged the UK Government to pause its net zero targets to reduce reliance on the likes of Russia for energy supplies.
The government issued a moratorium on fracking in November 2019, effectively banning the process, following concerns about earth tremors.
And an environmental charity has rejected Ms Atherton’s suggestion for the resumption of the hydraulic extraction of shale gas to be considered.
Rosie Rogers, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said ministers should focus on using renewable energy sources instead.
She said: “After a decade of hype and bluster, all the fracking industry has given us are two holes in a muddy field and some minor earthquakes.
“Trying to restart fracking now would only mean wasting more time when we have little.
“It will take many years to develop and if it ever gets produced, it will be sold to the highest bidder on the international market, with no impact on our energy bills.
“If the UK and Europe want to end their dependence on Russian gas, the quickest way to do that is by insulating homes, installing heat pumps and boosting renewables.
“These are tried and tested technologies, quick to deploy and getting cheaper all the time.”
She added: “With the Spring Statement just around the corner, the UK government should work on an emergency plan to free our country from gas dependence.
“This would protect households from soaring bills, tackle the climate crisis and weaken Putin’s hand.”
Ms Atherton said in her article that the West’s response to previous acts of aggression by Russia, including the annexation of Crimea and the Salisbury poisonings, had been inadequate.
The MP, who is a member of the Defence Select Committee, said: “To ensure that we are no longer reliant upon Russia, directly or indirectly, this government has been right to rethink how we supply energy to our nation.
“Recent announcements are welcome but the government must come up with more – and fast.
“We must roll out a new generation of nuclear reactors, and quickly, and we should be re-assessing fracking and tidal enhancement.
“Radical new energy policies will take time to take effect, but the longer-term implications for energy security will be welcomed.”
She added “As part of this, we should also park, for the time being, the net zero endeavour.
“Of course, it can and should remain a long-term aim but ensuring that we can, as a nation, generate the energy we need without a reliance on overseas sources should come first.”
Ms Atherton has been asked to comment further on the issue.
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