Minister criticises lifting of fracking ban

A missional discipleship mentor has criticised the government’s decision to lift the ban on fracking.

A moratorium was placed on the practice in November 2019 following concerns over earth tremors, but lifted last month.

In a statement, Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, attributed the lifting of the restriction to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, saying “strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority”.

Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister, called the move “a new ambition for our country”.

Daleen Ten Cate, Missional Discipleship Mentor for the United Reformed Church North West Synod, lives near the Preston New Road site in Lancashire, the only place in the UK where fracking has taken place. She is part of the Preston New Road Action Group, and criticised the move.

“I despair the fact that the PM is calling this a new ambition for the country, as if it is something good to strive for.

“I recently supported my daughter and her house mates to find affordable and green providers for their university home for the next academic year.

“For these young people it caused a lot of stress but at the same time we were aware that we are in a privileged position to have the funds to study and to have food to eat. What if you have to choose between food or heating?”

In a BBC Radio Lancashire interview, Liz Truss said fracking would only take place where “local consent would be given for it”.

However, the prime minister could not say, in the interview, what this consent would look like, how the government would go about obtaining it, or how people in the area could, or refuse to, give it.

Two local MPs – Scott Benton, the Conservative MP for Blackpool South, and Mark Menzies, the Conservative MP for Fylde – are also said to be against the practice.

The Preston New Road Action Group heavily protested at the site and celebrated when the moratorium was put in place.

“Can the government not see that fracking will cause even more damage to God’s creation and has the biggest impact on areas where there is already deprivation,” continued Daleen.

“Now is the Kairos moment for the country to look at greener and cleaner energy and to demand higher tax rates for the fossil fuel industry.”

A peaceful gathering will be taken place on the 13 October at County Hall, Preston.

A protest, featuring members of the North West Synod, at the fracking site in Lancashire.

Councillors will be meeting on this day and fracking will be on their agenda. This is an opportunity to let them know our thoughts about fracking. This event is co-sponsored by Frack Free Lancashire and the Lancashire Nanas.

In 2019, the United Reformed Church divested of its investments in fossil fuels, and committed to advocate for an end to the exploration for new oil and gas reserves, and the managed decline of fossil fuel production, as part of a transition to a net zero carbon economy. It recently committed to a target of achieving net zero emissions across the whole of church life by the year 2030.