THE BLOG
30/06/2015 05:57 BST | Updated 29/06/2016 06:59 BST

Lancashire's Vote Against Fracking Proves We Can Win the Fight for Action on Climate Change

This rejection is worth celebrating, but we must not stop campaigning until there is a complete ban on the practice in Britain. Only then can we turn a corner in terms of our energy mix, to focus it on renewables. What we know now is that the fight for climate action can be won.

Polling by Greenpeace last year showed that two thirds of Lancashire residents supported an outright ban on fracking. Yesterday, an application to frack in the area was rejected by County councillors. It was a great day for democracy - people were for once put before profit.

My congratulations go out to the many people who put their lives on hold to campaign against this extreme form of energy extraction going ahead on their doorstep, and to the councillors who bravely defied enormous pressures and made the best decision for their local community.

This was the first of what I am sure will be dozens of victories against the short-sighted and cruel policies of the Conservative government.

It proves to the growing network of activists campaigning against everything from spending cuts for public services to attacks on our civil liberties that the majority of the electorate, who did not vote for this government, can stand up against it.

Support for fracking is a major policy for David Cameron. As part of his backing for the rights of corporations over those of people, he is hatching plans to "fast-track" it.

But Lancashire County Council's decision sets an important precedent for councillors around the country. If Cameron wants to see Britain fracked, he will have to persuade local councils to defy the interests of their voters.

Shares in fracking companies plummeted after yesterday's decision - the industry got nervous. If more councils follow Lancashire's example, they might just decide that the hassle of applying for planning permission isn't worth it.

But this was just the beginning. Already Cuadrilla is considering appealing the council's decision, and Cameron's "fast-track" plans are designed to reduce the obstacles to attaining permission for initial drilling.

And that is what we're up against. With every battle we win against the Tories, they will shift the goalposts to make it easier for them to win next time.

This doesn't mean defeating austerity and climate complacency is impossible, but it does prove we cannot rest on our laurels.

In the case of fracking, this rejection is worth celebrating, but we must not stop campaigning until there is a complete ban on the practice in Britain. Only then can we turn a corner in terms of our energy mix, to focus it on renewables.

What we know now is that the fight for climate action can be won. If we take this positive outlook, we can defeat airport expansion, reinstate support for wind power and end the ties between our government and the fossil fuel industry.

As we move towards December's vital international climate talks, small victories like this give us hope that sustainable futures can be secured around the world.