Better late than never? Burnham’s call for fracking moratorium

Last Updated: June 6, 2015By Tags: , , , , ,

Andy Burnham’s call for a moratorium on fracking may be welcomed in many areas, but it still makes him – and Labour – look like a follower rather than a leader.

Too many people will remember that Labour did not support a similar call for a moratorium in January, made by the Green Party and supported by the SNP (if This Writer recalls correctly – Labour was certainly hammered by SNP supporters afterwards).

Instead, Labour called on the Coalition Government to impose a series of regulations that effectively meant fracking would be delayed until after the general election – in the hope that the Tories and Liberal Democrats would be ousted and saner minds would prevail.

This blog supported that choice because it was the only way fracking in England would be halted in the short term; the moratorium plan would not have won support from Coalition MPs but the regulations did – from Tories and Lib Dems who feared reprisals from their constituents if they did not show some restraint.

But Labour did not win the general election – the Tories did – and now the fear is that fracking will go ahead unhindered.

In that context, is Burnham asking for too little, too late?

(Note: A huge amount of crude oil was discovered beneath the Surrey/Sussex border last October. One is moved to ask whether this huge find will be developed and how heavily it will inconvenience the Conservative voters who live above it.)

A moratorium on fracking should be imposed until stronger scientific evidence can show it is safe to drill for shale gas, Andy Burnham, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, is to say.

The former cabinet minister will become the most senior Westminster politician to warn that fracking could pose a danger to communities as licences are “handed out like confetti” on flimsy evidence.

The MP for the Greater Manchester seat of Leigh, who will outline his plans on Saturday at a leadership hustings organised by the Fabian Society, told the Guardian: “I was literally left open-mouthed two years ago when I realised there were about nine licences all over my constituency. Some of them are moving forward.

“These things just seem to be handed out like confetti. That made me really focus on the issue. In my area, we are riddled with mine shafts as a former mining area. Where is the evidence that it is safe to come and frack a place like this? No fracking should go ahead until we have much clearer evidence on the environmental impact.”

Source: Andy Burnham to call for moratorium on fracking | Environment | The Guardian


  1. Chris June 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    A new Labour leader hopeful, is a true Labour man of the kind that was voted for by me all my life, and for the generations before me.

    Jeremy Corbyn MP Islington North, is marching with the People’s Assembly anti austerity march on June 20 in London. Put his vyoutube speech on same on me home page at:

    Mr Corbyn needs 35 Labour MPs to endorse him.

    This is the 38 Degrees petition:

    Yes the campaign succeeded, but Mr Corbyn still needs those 35 MPs to endorse him.

    Guardian article on Mr Corbyn:

    Mirror article on Mr Corbyn

    Which article ends:
    MPs expected to back Mr Corbyn’s bid include fellow London left-wingers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell.

    I’ve asked Mr Corbyn about my petition direct to his Westminster MP office.

    Politics is about winning.

    New Labour lost.

    Andy Burnham will destroy Labour, by Stafford Hospital being used to crush him at every opportunity by the Tories. That was, indeed, his fault and New Labour’s mistake. I can say that now after the creation of the National Health Party by medical professionals and the campaign group also becoming a local political party.

  2. hayfords June 15, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    The GMB union has come out in favour of fracking

    Gas union GMB ‘backing’ the fracking industry

    10 June 2015 Last updated at 17:54 BST

    The union representing gas workers has signed an agreement to fully support the fracking industry.

    The GMB said it would be “morally wrong” to oppose it.

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