Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg calls fracking opposition 'sheer ludditery'

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has called opposition to fracking 'sheer ludditery'.

It came as he was answering an urgent question in parliament about lifting a ban on shale gas extraction, reversing a ban from 2019.

Anti-fracking protesters previously spent 1,000 days outside the Cuadrilla fracking site in Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "It is more environmentally friendly to use our own sources of fuel rather than to extract them from other countries and transport them here at great cost, both financially and in terms of carbon.

“It is something therefore we need to revisit, and we need to revisit the seismic limits to ensure that shale gas extraction can be done in an effective and efficient way.

"It secures our supply and ensures our business can continue to operate. It's of such importance and it is sheer ludditery that opposes it."

Cuadrilla's fracking site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire. Credit: PA Images

Fylde Conservative MP Mark Menzies said: "There is nothing luddite about the people of Lancashire or of Fylde.

"I just want to start by saying how disappointed I am that Parliament was not informed about this before the media, and that as a local member of Parliament I was not given the courtesy despite having requested for two weeks contacting the honourable member to get information via his PPS, I've sent letters, I have sent WhatsApps, nothing back."

He added: "Can we be crystal clear on one thing? The Prime Minister at the Manchester hustings ... made it crystal clear, no ifs, not buts, no caveats, that fracking would only take place in the United Kingdom where there was local consent.

"Crystal clear. So, if the Prime Minister is to remain a woman of her word, a woman that we can believe in, which I believe she is, can the Secretary of State outline how that local consent will be given and demonstrated?" 

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband Credit: PA Images

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband added: “He says in his written statement laid before this House, tolerating a higher degree of risk and disturbance appears to us to be in the national interest.

“I look forward to him and his colleagues explaining his charter for earthquakes to the people of Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Sussex, Dorset, and indeed Somerset will be part of his dangerous experiment.

“Let me tell the party opposite: we will hang this broken promise around their necks in every part of the country between now and the next general election.”

At Cuadrilla's fracking site in Lancashire, more than 120 tremors were recorded - although most were too small to be felt.