Embattled PM Liz Truss was interviewed by Graham Liver on BBC Radio Lancashire this morning (29th September 2022), and refused to deny that fracking would return to Lancashire or explain how ‘local consent’ would be ascertained.
Graham questioned her about the Government’s stated intention to allow fracking, saying America ‘do it in the middle of nowhere’ before asking if she actually knew where the Preston New Road site was. In response, Prime Minister Truss said she ‘didn’t think [she] had been to that site in the past.’ Graham asked, ‘shouldn’t you?’. A long pause followed before the Prime Minister returned to the topic of needing local consent. This is despite the fact that the Preston New Road site – which is run by the shale gas exploration company Cuadrilla – is looking to frack the ‘Bowland Shale’, which is the area the British Geological Survey calls ‘the main rock formation of interest for shale gas exploration in the UK’.
The Prime Minister simply repeated the latest Tory line saying, ‘We will only press ahead with fracking in areas where there is local community support for that and the Business Secretary has been very clear about that. Fracking is carried out perfectly safely in various parts of the world and the Business Secretary will make sure that any fracking that takes place is safe. But it’s very important for me that any fracking has local community consent.’ However, once again she refused to explain what ‘local consent’ means – although the government continue to say it is required before the controversial practice is allowed.
Graham Liver highlighted the opposition from local Tory MPs Scott Benton and Mark Menzies among those against the practice. Prime Minister Truss responded by saying, ‘The energy secretary will be laying out in more detail exactly what that looks like but it does mean making sure there is local support before going ahead. There are various detailed issues to work through but I can assure Mark Menzies that I will make sure there is local consent if we are to go ahead.’
You can hear the full BBC Radio Lancashire interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4EVGO70mNo