Davey snubbed as Lib Dems back fracking ban

LIBERAL Democrats ignored the pleas of former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey as the party voted to back an outright ban on fracking today.

The proposed fracking site at Kirby Misperton
The proposed fracking site at Kirby Misperton

Delegates at the party's spring conference in York moved to harden the its position on the controversial mining method over concern at the possible damage to the environment.

Sir Ed led an attempt to maintain the party's focus on allowing fracking under heavy regulation but was opposed by Baroness Lynne Featherstone, the party's current energy spokeswoman.

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The debate at York's Barbican took place as Third Energy presses to carry out fracking operations at Kirby Misperton, less than 30 miles away.

Supporters of the call for a ban included Coun Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment on York Council.

He told the conference: "We are not the desolate north the supporters of fracking would have you believe. The whole city is covered by licences, including land underneath the Minster.

"We have seen the evidence from around the world what the consequences of fracking will be in Pennsylvania, in South Australia, so regulation is fine but assumptions made in one decade can be overwhelmed by nature several decades later.

"In this very auditorium, the Environment Agency had to explain what happened to the Foss Barrier. The clean up from that is costing this city a lot, the clean up from making mistakes with fracking will cost immensely more."

Earlier, Sir Ed had argued that the country needed to find ways of meeting its future energy needs while renewable technologies are developed,

He said: "If we move away from fossil fuels as fast as possible we will still need a lot of gas over the next 30 years at least.

"The gas supplies we have been using for many years, our own secure gas supplies mainly from the North sea are dwindling and imports are increasing year on year."

He added: "We may even have to ask Vladimir Putin for gas and I don;t want to depend on the Kremlin."