1 May 2013
A survey of county council candidates by Friends of the Earth North West published today has revealed overwhelming support for tackling climate change and renewable energy and little support for fracking.
- 90% of candidates who answered said they would support policies to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- 48% said they do not support fracking in Lancashire, with a further 48% not supporting it until more is known about the costs and benefits.
- 93% said they would support policies which move the energy system from fossil fuels towards renewables such as solar, wind and tidal.
On fracking, Green candidates have the strongest position against it, with all respondents answering that they do not support fracking, followed by the Liberal Democrats and Labour. The Greens are the only party to have a specific policy against fracking.
Leaders of the three main parties have all stated their support for renewable energy and recognise the benefits for the Lancashire economy, but have mixed views on fracking.
Councillor Bill Winlow, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, was the only party leader to respond to the survey and set out his concerns about fracking and support for green industries. Cllr Winlow introduced a motion to council calling for industry-specific regulation on fracking last year which was passed with cross party support.
Labour leader, Councillor Jennifer Mein, has supported the national Labour party position that six criteria on safety and the environment must be satisfied if the party is to support fracking. The Labour group has made a ‘greener Lancashire’ one of its five pledges for the county.
Lancashire’s Conservative leader Geoff Driver has given qualified support to fracking, provided it can be done safely, and has sought to play down the role that the council plays in fracking decisions despite it being the planning authority. The party’s pledges for Lancashire do not mention the environment.
A total of 35 candidates responded to the survey. Friends of the Earth has also noted the responses of the party leads to questions regarding the environment and fracking in election events and interviews.
Helen Rimmer North West Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:
“It’s fantastic that nearly all candidates who responded to our survey support renewable energy and recognise the council’s role in tackling climate change.
“97% of candidates surveyed said they do not support fracking at all, or do not support it until more is known.
“We urge the next leader of Lancashire County Council to reject risky fracking, which could wreck the county’s environment and harm existing economic sectors, and instead ensure Lancashire businesses, workers and the manufacturing sector benefit from the growth in renewable energy.”
Notes to editors
- Leaders’ views have been gathered from answers to questions on renewable energy and fracking during BBC Radio Lancashire’s election special on Thursday 25 April and Lancashire Evening Post’s forum on Monday 29 April.
- 35 candidates responded to the survey, which was sent to all candidates either directly where an email could be found, or via their constituency groups. These were: from the Conservatives Anthony Beckett, Ian Brown, Julie Buttle, Jonty Campbell and Daniel Valentine; from the Greens Peter Cranie, Gina Dowding, Jack Filmore, Eve McNamara, Philip Mitchell, Sam Riches and Jake Welsh; Independents Julie Brickles, Paul Hayhurst and Martyn Hunt; from Labour David Borrow, Darren Clifford, Paul Cotterill, Yvonne Hargreaves, John Hodson, Tony Martin, Yousuf Motala, Miles Parkinson, Marilyn Proctor, Michael Tomlinson and Ben Whittingham; and from the Liberal Democrats Peter Banks, Stephen Fenn, Peter Finnigan, Michael Gradwell, Karen Henshaw, Peter Hodge, William Jackson, David Whipp and Bill Winlow; and from UKIP Peter Hodge. The survey was carried out between Thursday 19 April and Monday 29 April.
- The questions put to candidates were: 1) If elected would you vote in favour of policies to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions: responses available a) Yes b) No c) Not as a Priority; 2) Do you support fracking in Lancashire: responses available a) Yes b) No c) Not until we know more about the costs and benefits; 3) The UK energy mix is currently around 74% fossil fuels and 7% renewables. Do you support policies which move our energy system away from fossil fuels and towards renewables such as solar, wind, tidal?: responses available a) Yes b) No c) Not as a priority.
- A full breakdown of responses by candidate is available, please contact [email protected] or 07940 006783
If you’re a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.
Published by Friends of the Earth Trust