A Tory MP is holding a crucial debate on fracking. No, really.

A fracking protest sign and Theresa May
Steve Topple

A Conservative MP has organised a debate into the controversial fracking industry. But perhaps nearly as contentious is that it’s yet another Tory MP questioning his own government’s policy.

Fracking: a controversial industry

Friends of the Earth describe fracking as:

a process to extract oil or gas from shale rock… A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped down the well at very high pressure. This fractures the rock and when the pressure is released, the gas or oil flows back up the well.

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The industry is contentious. Campaigners are against it, not least because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also been linked to polluted drinking water and earthquakes. Studies have also shown links to low birth weights, premature births, and a possible increased risk of breast cancer. As The Canary has documented, opposition from local residents where fracking has begun has been robust.

Blue-on-blue action?

More recently, two Conservative MPs spoke out about fracking at their party conference. But the government is moving forward with fracking regardless. A statement in May, then a policy paper in July, effectively gave the green light for companies to frack up and down the country.

Now, another Tory MP is raising his eyebrows about fracking. MP for Fylde Mark Menzies has already said he has concerns over changes to planning permission laws. He thinks that the changes will lead to companies fracking at “inappropriate locations”. But Menzies is going further over this, organising a Westminster Hall debate about the issue on 31 October.

Campaign group Frack Free United announced the debate on social media:

Menzies and Frack Free United have also both been telling people that a government consultation on law changes for fracking closes on Thursday 25 October:

No fracking way

Steve Mason from Frack Free United told The Canary:

This plan to force fracking on local communities and ignore local democracy is ill-thought-out and unworkable. Energy minister Claire Perry is putting her career before communities. She needs to listen to experts; not the increasingly radical opinions of the industry – one which is desperate to frack up the country.

Protests from local people to fracking have been strong; not least in places like Preston New Road. But with yet another Tory MP turning on his government over this dirty industry, the heat is on.

Get Involved!

Submit your views to the government consultation on fracking.

Read more from The Canary on it.

Featured image via Glen Black and Guardian News – YouTube

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Steve Topple