Delingpole: May’s Fake Tory Government Caves to Anti-Fracking Loons

TOPSHOT - British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, dressed as an angel, poses with other anti-fracking activists, dressed as Joseph, and the three wise men, as the demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on December 18, 2018. - Anti-fracking activists, including Talk Fracking, of …
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty

Theresa May’s Conservative In Name Only Government has caved to the Green Blob again — this time causing the resignation of its ‘Fracking Tsar’ Natascha Engel.

Ms Engel, formerly a Labour MP, has tendered her resignation from her post as Commissioner for Shale Gas in protest at the government’s policy.

Instead of accepting the overwhelming scientific evidence that fracking is safe, she complains, the government has been strangling the industry at birth by trying to appease ‘noisy green campaigners’.

According to David Rose, who broke the story in the Mail on Sunday, Ms Engel sent her ‘explosive’ resignation letter to Energy Secretary Greg Clark last night.

It says she is stepping down because “a perfectly viable industry is being wasted because of a Government policy driven by environmental lobbying rather than science, evidence and a desire to see UK industry flourish”.

The Government, it adds, is “listening to a small but loud environmental movement that opposes in principle all extraction of fossil fuels. The campaign against fracking has been highly successful in raising the profile – and filling the coffers – of some campaign groups, but they do not represent local residents nor the wider population.”

The key reason for Ms Engel’s resignation is Mr Clark’s refusal to review the limit for earth tremors caused by fracking – 0.5 on the Richter scale. Tremors of this size, Ms Engel says, are so faint that detecting them requires highly sensitive equipment. The same rules do not apply to quarry blasting or construction piling, which can cause much bigger earth movements. They are also thousands of times weaker than the level 4 or 5 quakes geologists say are the smallest likely to damage buildings.

Ms Engel says: “A 0.5 tremor is much weaker than the rumble you might feel when walking above a Tube train. Yet if a frack unleashes a tremor rated 0.5 [caused when water is pumped underground into the shale to crack it and release the gas it holds] operators have to stop what they’re doing for 18 hours… this is making fracking impossible.”

Paul Homewood notes that, whatever your views on fracking, there is no disputing the importance of natural gas in Britain’s energy mix. As he shows in a series of simple charts, the government’s anti-fracking stance is not helping Britain become more ‘green’: it just means that Britain has to import more gas rather than benefit from its own abundant natural resources.

1) Gas still accounts for 39% of the UK’s energy consumption, compared to a paltry 3% contribution from wind, solar and hydro:

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https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/total-energy-section-1-energy-trends

2) We import 49% of our gas requirements:

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https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-march-2018

3) Although the majority of imports come via pipeline from Norway, LNG still accounts for 17% of imports:

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Meanwhile at the BBC, one of its team of house eco-activists Roger Harrabin, has quoted a slew of hard left green campaign organisations to explain why Britain doesn’t need a fracking industry like the one that has made the U.S. more prosperous and energy-independent.

Environmentalists will be delighted with Ms Engel’s decision to quit. They argued that fracking rules on the crowded land of the UK must be far more rigorous than in the open spaces of the USA.

More fundamentally, they said it was madness for the UK to be seeking more gas when firms have already discovered far more fossil fuel than scientists say can be burned without wrecking the climate.

Greenpeace UK head of politics Rebecca Newsom said the fracking industry had been “stuck in a time warp” and that “it’s not surprising some of its backers are getting tired of waiting”, adding: “What’s bad news for frackers is good news for everyone else.”

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth said Ms Engel’s suggestion that fracking could help reduce carbon emissions was “outrageous”.

It added the government had already “bent over backwards to help the fracking industry”, despite it being “bad news for our climate and environment” and “deeply unpopular with the public”.

Since this government is overwhelmingly more concerned about what the BBC has to say about energy and the environment than it is in what the hard evidence actually tells us about energy and the environment, it is highly unlikely that this shale industry sabotage-by-overregulation is likely to be reversed any time soon.

Another reason, then, not to vote Conservative.

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