Corbyn joins protesters in Lancashire, pledging fracking ban and ‘green industrial revolution’

Jeremy Corbyn at Preston New Road, Lancashire
Ed Sykes

On 30 July, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn continued his tour around Britain by meeting protesters at the gates of a shale gas exploration site in Lancashire. Speaking to around a hundred activists at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool, Corbyn promised that his party will ban fracking and launch a “green industrial revolution” if it wins the next general election.

The site is the UK’s only shale exploration operation and is controversial in Lancashire after numerous earth tremors were blamed on the process. There has also been a “large police presence” there to monitor protesters.

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Anti-fracking protest
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to protesters inside their hut (Peter Byrne/PA)

Corbyn said fracking, a method of shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing underground, would have a damaging effect on the environment. He also stated that he would be “happy to talk” to Cuadrilla – the firm responsible for fracking at Preston New Road – “because I do believe what they are doing is dangerous to our environment”. But he stressed:

I’m here to announce our support for ending fracking

“A green industrial revolution will create around 400,000 jobs”

After speaking to demonstrators in a hut where they organise round-the-clock monitoring of the fracking activities, Corbyn stepped onto a bench to give a speech to protesters. He said:

I want to see a green industrial revolution in Britain.

I want to see sustainability. We cannot go on with this level of CO2 emissions and global warming, otherwise we are all damaged if not doomed.

A green industrial revolution will create around 400,000 jobs, high-skilled, good quality, well paid jobs, all around the country.

That is a future for our children.

We have a short window, as a people, to reduce CO2 emissions, to prevent global warming beyond 1.5C, in order to protect the planet.

I want to say well done everyone in Lancashire that opposed fracking here, as in Derbyshire and other places, in Sussex, and the way in which you have made sure the issue is kept alive.

The Tory-led government is in the pockets of fossil-fuel corporations. Corbyn isn’t.

In October 2016, then communities secretary Sajid Javid approved plans for fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, overturning and ignoring local objections.

Corbyn insisted:

Lancashire County Council did its best and then the whole legal process and Sajid Javid intervened.

Well a Labour government would intervene again and we would ban fracking all across the UK.

Earlier in the day, Corbyn had told the Conservative-led government to stop “bending the knee” to fossil-fuel companies:

A different kind of politics – a different kind of future

Corbyn has been travelling around Britain in recent weeks, as one Twitter user has been highlighting:

Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has met with boos and protests from Wales to Scotland in his first days as prime minister.

Mainstream journalists may still be intent on asking Corbyn ‘strange questions’, but he seems determined to keep campaigning for a brighter future:

A different kind of politics is possible – one that actually cares what citizens think and need. And a different kind of future is possible – one that looks after both people and planet. Corbyn is consistently showing that he’s at the forefront of that fight for a better Britain and a better world.

The mainstream media may not see it or report it, but change is coming. And we all have a part to play in making that happen.

Featured image and additional reporting via Press Association

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