We have realised in the last year that there are serious problems with our energy supplies. Britain is luckier than many countries in not being so reliant on Russian gas, but it is clear that fossil fuels like oil and gas are no longer the future.
As our atomic power stations are scheduled for closure (and even if new ones are built that could be a decade away) we need a safe and sensible electricity supply.
The Business Secretary Jacob Rees – Mogg has said he is in favour of widespread fracking and would be happy to have it on his North Somerset estate.
However fracking is widely unpopular for very good reason.
It is an irreversible splitting of the underground rock with a toxic mixture of alchohols, glycols, salts, lead, benzene and copious amounts of freshwater, which forces shale gas up to the surface, sometimes creating earth tremors. It can force gas and the fracking fluid into underground water reservoirs.
In order to collect and transport the gas away for use, collection tank areas and many service roads must be laid and daily tanker transports will be needed; all requiring infrastructure which has to be planned and built. This could take years to get local support, be agreed and then constructed and all for a short term gain perhaps 20 years before it runs out leaving the bedrocks permanently altered with unknown lasting effects.
America may have enough empty waste land for this but in our crowded farmed areas - do we?
Lib Dems can do better.
All these Conservative ideas have forgotten the obvious energy production scheme – onshore Wind Power. Schemes for wind turbines should be going ahead.
They have worked well in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland and are relatively cheap to build and at least can be taken down if no longer necessary. In Dorset we are already increasing our solar farm arrays but they do take up valuable green space and farmland. Wind turbines take little ground space and should help with our energy needs.
There is a need for us as a society to accept changes to our local environment to produce energy. A hundred years ago we had working mills on all our rivers in Dorset, perhaps it is time to think of river turbines creating local energy as happens in some parts of Wales.