I am proud to have stopped fracking despite the energy crisis

Sir Ed Davey says fracking won't result in lower heating bills in UK countryside - Dale Cherry

Sir Ed Davey says fracking won’t result in lower heating bills in UK countryside – Dale Cherry

Sir Ed Davey said he remains proud that, despite the current energy crisis, he was the person who “basically stopped” fracking in the UK.

Sir Ed, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, served as Energy Secretary in the coalition government between 2012 and 2015.

He told The Telegraph his party will face the Conservatives on an anti-fracking platform in by-elections and at the next general election when the next Tory leader seeks to resume drilling as prime minister.

In 2012 he introduced a strict rule requiring companies to stop work if they trigger vibrations greater than 0.5 magnitude.

Shale gas companies have said commercial fracking cannot take place under the rule. Sir Ed, appearing on Channel 4 in 2019, said the rule “actually meant that the fracking industry hasn’t developed at all in this country”.

“I’m very proud that you see the person who basically stopped the fracking industry in this country,” he added.

In the same interview, he said fracking is not necessary because “the success of our renewable energy policies, particularly with offshore wind, means we won’t need anywhere near the amount of gas that we had before.”

Sir Ed told The Telegraph he stood by what he said in 2019, saying: “Fracking in the UK countryside would not mean lower heating costs as gas prices are set internationally and would not provide energy security either now or in the long term.

“The real problem is this government’s failure to continue Lib Dem policies to insulate homes and invest in renewable energy, which has resulted in people’s bills being higher and we now have to import more gas.”

The Lib Dems have drawn accusations of nimbyism by running successful post-election campaigns such as in Chesham and Amersham, in which they have been vocal in opposing planning reforms and new developments.

Sir Ed hinted that his party would also seek to use fracking against the Tories if Liz Truss lives up to her promise to lift the “moratorium” on the practice that has been in place since 2019.

“If the Conservatives change their anti-fracking policy of the past seven years, the Liberal Democrats will take action,” he said.

Craig MacKinlay, a Tory backbencher supporting Ms Truss against Rishi Sunak, hit back by claiming the Lib Dems bear “a unique responsibility” for the current crisis because they “prevented any sensible energy policy during the coalition years”.

“I hope Sir Ed Davey will make a public apology for stopping the potential for domestic shale gas, which could have had a decent impact in delivering energy security, lower costs and carbon savings compared to imported LNG,” said he.

Despite the rule he introduced, Sir Ed advocated fracking when he was Energy Secretary before later changing his mind. In 2013, he said it’s “not the evil some people want it to make” and could bring “jobs, tax revenue, and more energy security.”

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