THE BLOG

Fracking Is Not Right for Today's Families or Tomorrow's Environment

28/01/2015 18:07 GMT | Updated 30/03/2015 10:59 BST

I believe that Britain can lead the way in a new global, green industrial revolution. Where we are pioneers of clean technology, renewable energy sources and at the frontier of environmentally friendly scientific progress.

This will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, unleash a wave of sustainable economic growth and ultimately tackle the great challenge of climate change.

The next steps that we should take must be towards securing a diverse mix of energy sources for years to come and protecting our environment for our future generations. What doesn't sit comfortably with this plan is the issue of fracking.

The earth's natural resources are finite and no one knows for sure what the long term impact of fracking will be.

On both these counts it seems to me like utter insanity that both governments and big businesses pursue ever more inventive and extreme methods of draining the planet of its precious resources.

The oil is almost gone and the same will be true of gas sooner rather than later. Then what? Tar Sands or deep water drilling? This is simply ducking the hard questions and leaving it to future generations to deal with.

The problem is while the energy companies count their profits there will be no future generations left to deal with the problem.

As well as the environmental impact there is a huge concern surrounding drilling under homes.

Should companies be allowed to drill underneath houses? Absolutely not.

This process raises a number of questions regarding public health, safety and the ability to protect our own homes from becoming drilling sites.

Today's politicians and businesses must lead on this now and take steps to protect our environment for the future.

The reason why is clear. We do not know the full scale of the impact fracking could have on our environment. And until we have the expert evidence that fracking can lead to carbon reductions we should not be allowing energy companies to drill. We shouldn't be looking for a route to cheap energy, we should be looking for a route to sustainable energy.

That's why I am deeply disappointed that MPs this week rejected a moratorium on fracking. Once again the public interest was neglected by Labour in favour of their own interests. Despite claiming they would support a ban, they voted against the moratorium and in the interests of the unions.

To ban fracking in national parks and areas of beauty is merely not not enough. Fracking needs to be suspended until an environmental assessment has been completed by the Committee on Climate Change.

If we are to build a sustainable energy system for the future, then we need to explore all the available options and not just sign up to the cheapest or quickest system, without knowing the impact it will have on our future.

Put simply fracking is not the natural step in creating a greener Britain. Instead we must look at the options that will safeguard our environment for today and tomorrow.

And there is no way of knowing what the limits will be. Companies are even proposing drilling in London, right through the heart of my constituency in Brent Central, exposing thousands of people to untold hazards and risks.

Investment in and a commitment to green and renewable sources must be made now if we are to secure future energy needs and avoid environmental catastrophe.

The most powerful argument the big companies and government have is that if we make the move to cleaner sources and don't frack now, then household energy bills will go through the roof.

This is a frightening narrative for anyone who maybe struggling to make ends meet. When you are living day to day, supporting a family and working all the hours god sends, the long term environmental consequences can easily be put to one side.

But this is an issue we cannot ignore. And it's time to counter the scaremongering myths surrounding green energy because this is very much a debate about the impact fracking has on the households of today and the environment of tomorrow.

The economics of what I am suggesting may result in a short term rise in energy costs but as efficiency is increased, costs will fall. It's clear that the long term benefits outweigh the short term concerns. Greater efficiency, lower costs and a greener Britain. But we all have a role to play in achieving these long term goals. And a quick fix of allowing energy companies the freedom to frack from beneath our feet is not the answer.

The government, energy companies and businesses must insulate customers from absorbing these costs as much as possible.

That is the right thing to do. For today's families and for tomorrow's environment.