BY RUTH HAYHURST ON MAY 9, 2017
Two anti-fracking campaign groups have joined forces to try to put shale gas on the agenda for the general election.
Frack Free United and Cross Party Frack Free said today they had pooled resources to try to encourage tactical voting and highlight the policies of election candidates and the parties on fracking.
Frack Free United is a network of residents and campaign groups which opposes fracking. It has called for local and national government to adopt an energy policy based primarily on renewables and energy efficiency.
It had been working towards a general election in 2020 but with last month’s announcement of a June 2017 poll it has had to change its plans.
The group said it had distributed 50,000 leaflets before the election announcement. Since then it said it had seen a 150% increase in the number of activists who wanted to join the campaign and received orders for more than 100,000 leaflets.
Cross Party Frack Free holds a register of politicians who support a UK-wide ban on fracking. Up to now, the register has been open only to elected councillors and MPs and to Peers. But election candidates can now register to support a ban. It said in the past few days, about 40 parliamentary candidates had signed up. They include anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, and former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. Labour’s Cat Smith and the Green’s Caroline Lucas had joined the register in 2016.
The groups said their online launch tonight had a social reach of more than one million. Their website includes lists of candidates and interactive maps of constituencies and licence areas, as well as information about fracking.
A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:
“Fracking has to be stopped by changing Government policy and we are urging people to find out more about the damage that fracking will do to their communities and before they cast their vote on June 8th – this is a brilliant opportunity to drive home our anti-fracking message and promote the alternative technologies needed to help meet the UKs legal obligations to stop climate change.
“We want voters to make an ‘informed choice’ on who is the best person to vote for in their constituency to stop fracking. We have to get the issue on the agenda now and we will try our best to make June 8th the turning point in the fight against fracking.
“Our interactive map has been updated to include parliamentary constituencies and fracking licences and will also provide the candidate names and contact details in each area, encouraging voters to ask them ‘what is your position on fracking?’ The Cross Party Frack Free Register will be accessible from both the Frack Free United and Cross Party Frack Free websites and across the networks on social media.
“We haven’t even launched our general election campaign yet and we have been already been inundated with supporters signing up from across the UK. We are providing guidance and info to spread our message, which includes supplying the ‘Your home is in a fracking area’ leaflet, giving them opportunity to raise awareness and inform candidates of fracking in their area.”
DrillOrDrop asked Backing Fracking, Lancashire for Shale and Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration, three groups in favour of fracking, about their plans for the general election campaign. We will report on any campaign initiatives supporting the industry.