Cat Smith Column: We need a green jobs revolution

Cuadrilla's fracking and drill rig at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's fracking and drill rig at Preston New Road

In her latest column, Fleetwood MP Cat Smith looks at the fracking controversy and Labour's plans to tackle climate change

It’s very worrying that, within days of Cuadrilla starting their fracking operations at Preston New Road, a series of small tremors has been detected close to where drilling has begun.
The British Geological Survey (BGS), which provides impartial advice on environmental processes, has recorded four tremors.
According to the BGS this is not unexpected, since hydraulic fracturing is generally accompanied by micro-seismicity. All of the tremors detected at Preston New Road are so far below the threshold required to stop hydraulic fracturing. One of Friday’s tremors measured 0.3, the level beyond which the BSG says hydraulic fracking should ‘proceed with caution’. Tremors above 0.5 would force operations to cease.
Like many, I feel concern and upset on behalf of our planet when a company is permitted to drill down and inject liquid with the aim of fracturing the earth to extract oil or gas. Could these tremors be a warning of serious implications? Cuadrilla weren’t pumping fracturing fluid at the time of the tremors – what will happen when they do?
We ignore the earth’s response at our peril. When there are other options for producing energy, I find it incomprehensible this government refuses to embrace and invest in renewables. Instead it ignores the concerns of councils and local people, and even the advice from leading scientists from across the world.
Last month, those scientists warned fossil fuel use must be cut dramatically to limit temperature rises. They say there’s only a dozen years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Once it goes up by even half a degree, there will be a significant risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people – including here in the UK.
We must lead by example. Labour has set out plans for energy that are ambitious, will create thousands of jobs and will make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet climate change obligations.
By 2030 we’re committed to creating a sevenfold increase in offshore windfarms and a tripling of solar power. By 2030 we would double the number of onshore windfarms. Our programme of investment and transformation to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 would create over 400,000 skilled jobs – a Green Jobs Revolution that would help tackle climate change, provide sustainable energy for the future and create skilled jobs in every nation and region of the UK.
There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change. Let’s create a safer future for our children and grandchildren.
I was delighted to officially mark the installation of a new community defibrillator at the Kepplegate Nursing Home in Preesall. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. If you come across someone who has had a cardiac arrest, it’s vital to call 999 and start CPR. Then you should find out if there is a defibrillator nearby.
Around 30,000 cardiac arrests happen out of hospital in the UK every year. If people receive CPR quickly from someone and they can also use a defibrillator, they have a much better chance of surviving and recovering.
Keep an eye out for where your community defibrillators are positioned – and please don’t be afraid of using one, you could save someone’s life by your swift action.