Green Party leader visits Upton protest camp to highlight region’s battle against fracking









Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, and Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, will visit the protest camp at Upton, near Chester, to highlight the Green Party’s opposition to fracking for shale gas and the extraction of coal bed methane.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, has been a vocal opponent of fracking, visiting the protest camp in Balcombe, Sussex, last summer and visiting Barton Moss in Salford earlier this year. She said:

“Coalition government ministers have a fervent belief that fracking can solve all of our problems, from fuel poverty to manufacturing decline, from energy security to unemployment. Lib Dem Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey is hell-bent on supporting extreme energy, boasting that he “loves” shale gas. This fervour is misguided – the evidence shows that fracking won’t bring down energy bills and is not a solution to climate change.

She continued: “Rather than locking us into a future of fossil fuel dependence the government should be doubling its efforts to reduce energy use through home insulation and supporting the creation of renewable, clean and safe energy. Residents in Upton are right to oppose extreme energy and I’m here today to show my support for their campaign.”

Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, is campaigning to be the region’s first Green Party MEP. The Green Party is the only major political party opposed to fracking and this is a central message of his campaign.

He said:  “I’m pleased to be visiting Upton to hear more about local people’s concerns about extracting coal bed methane gas and to back their campaign. We’ve seen that there’s huge opposition to fracking for shale gas and extracting coal bed methane across the north west. A recent poll revealed 74% of Britons oppose plans to allow drilling under their homes without permission. People are right to be concerned.”

He continued: “Fracking isn’t going to bring down fuel bills or help us tackle climate change and it brings with it the risk of water and air pollution. Unlike the other political parties, the Green Party is against fracking. We’re working hard on this issue in Europe and the UK – asking the difficult questions, challenging the government and pushing for a complete ban on fracking, like in France.”

He concluded: “In parliament we have an outspoken Green MP, Caroline Lucas, who protested peacefully against fracking, was arrested and subsequently found not guilty. She stands up for the vast majority of people who either oppose fracking or are not convinced by it. The Greens will stand with local residents in opposition to fracking. Labour, UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives all support this unsustainable and harmful dash for gas. If you want an elected representative to stand up against fracking in Upton, then you need to elect at least one anti-fracking Euro MP by voting Green on the 22nd May.”

The Green Party is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament with 58 MEPs, working on issues as diverse as workers’ rights, energy, transport, fishing, international development, environmental protection and employment. Peter Cranie lost out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 0.3% of the vote in 2009 and instead the British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin, became the region’s MEP. The Greens are hoping to break through on May 22nd.

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