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Conservative manifesto pledges 'fracking revolution'

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The Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto contains pledges to support the UK’s existing climate change commitments – despite proposing a controversial ‘fracking revolution’ which would see increased support for Britain’s shale gas industry.

According to reports, the 88-page document launched last week insists that, if re-elected, the Party would “lead international action against climate change” through supporting technologies such as offshore wind and battery storage in a bid to help the UK meet its existing climate change targets.

This means that, by 2050, the UK would set out to reduce emissions by 60 per cent from levels recorded in the year 1990.

However, the Party’s manifesto also contains controversial plans to kick-start a ‘fracking revolution’ across the UK, alongside proposals to continue supporting the North Sea oil and gas industry.

In the document, the Conservatives have said that the oil and gas sector plays a “critical role” in both the UK’s energy supply and in boosting our country’s economy.

It says that the Party would set out to develop the shale industry in Britain, but only if “rigorous” environmental protections were upheld.

This comes in stark contrast to proposals outlined by the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats in recent weeks – with both parties pledging to ‘ban’ fracking should they be elected.

The Conservative manifesto proposes a new Shale Environmental Regulator – which would be established in a bid to provide governance and accountability. It adds that its proposed Shale Wealth Fund would be altered to ensure that a significant portion of the revenues generated from fracking go back to communities that have hosted the extraction sites.

Furthermore, the previously proposed Clean Growth Plan has been effectively omitted from the final draft of the manifesto, alongside any references to address the UK’s strategy to combating illegal levels of air pollution.

Dave Timms, environmental campaigner on behalf of Friends of the Earth (FoE), welcomed the Conservative Party’s rejection of “siren voices calling for the UK to walk away from its international and domestic commitments to tackle climate change.”

However, he labelled “the lack of policies to deal with the dirty air crisis” as “astounding”.

Commenting on the Conservatives’ fracking plans, he added: “The mantra of 'take back control' will ring hollow for communities who face having fracking forced down their throats and their rights stripped away.”