Greenpeace says it is very bad news that UK MP’s have voted to allow fracking to take place under British national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The vote was contentious and did face opposition however those in favour won by a margin of 37 votes. This means if just 5 per cent of MP’s had decided against the motion things could have been very different.
Protected areas will be polluted
What the vote essentially means is that previously protected areas such as national parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), World Heritage Sites and Groundwater Protection Zones could end up becoming surrounded by drilling rigs as companies seek to extract gas from underneath by drilling horizontally.
There should be more protection not less
Some of the areas at risk include the Bowland Forest, the South Downs, the Peak District and the North Yorkshire Moors. Fracking poses a number of risks that have been well documented but there are extremely good reasons why previously protected areas deserve more protection not less. In many cases they are the homes of endangered wildlife or consist of an ecosystem that is extremely fragile. When people visit these areas they don’t expect to hear noise from compressors or see lots of heavy goods vehicles driving by. The activity takes place 24 hours a day 7 days a week and will make industrial scale noise.
Fracking incompatible with fighting against climate change
The result of the vote is even more surprising given the fact it comes not long after a historic climate agreement was reached in Paris. The agreement was celebrated globally and is seen as a clear signal that the fossil fuel era is going to come to an end sooner rather later. If the UK holds up its end of the climate agreement then the idea of supporting fracking in the UK is completely incompatible.
End of the fossil fuel era
Greenpeace is shocked that the conservative government wants to introduce fracking in the UK instead of focusing on safe, cheap and clean energy. It is incredibly distressing that the government is prepared to water down existing regulation that currently protects some of the most ecologically important areas in the country. There is however some hope because there is a ground swell of anti fracking support which is growing stronger than ever. There are hundreds of groups across the UK working to oppose the vote.
It is important to maintain the fight
Whilst the vote is indeed a blow, it is increasingly obvious that the fossil fuel industry days are numbered. We cannot be quite sure how many years we will continue to depend on fossil fuels, however it is critical that people stay determined and groups such as Greenpeace maintain the pressure.