Labor has pledged to ban fracking “once and for all”, calling it “an unjust charter for earthquakes”.
The party is working to bring forward an opposition day motion to maintain the ban on the controversial gas extraction method, after Liz Truss said she would lift it as part of her energy security plan.
The moratorium on fracking was imposed by the Conservatives in 2019 after a series of tremors, and their manifesto that year said they would not support it “unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely”.
Fracking involves injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing cracks and extract oil or gas.
A government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey at the time said more data was needed, but despite the lack of scientific progressMs Truss’s administration has torn up the manifesto commitment.
Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, will visit Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, on Friday to meet the party’s candidate Jo White and residents to listen to concerns about the possibility of fracking in their area.
“Labor will stand with communities in opposing the Conservatives’ dodgy plans to impose expensive, dirty, and dangerous fracking on the British people,” he said.
“Fracking would make no difference to energy prices, and could risk the health of local communities, nature, and water supplies.”
The government has insisted that future fracking applications will be considered where there is local support, although it is not clear how that will be measured.
Previous fracking attempts have faced significant public opposition.
Ms Truss said she was “setting a new ambition for our country” when she announced the fracking ban would be lifted as part of a plan to make the UK a net energy exporter by 2040.
However, Labor says that shale gas extracted by fracking would make no difference to gas prices, and is a more expensive alternative to renewables, which the party says is nine times cheaper than gas.
Hitting out at what he called Ms Truss’s “unjust charter for earthquakes”, Mr Miliband said Labor would stand up to her plan to “outsource decisions about local consent to fracking companies”.
The party intends to work with MPs who oppose fracking to force the government to maintain the ban, one of several issues to divide the Conservatives since Ms Truss became leader.
The government’s environmental commitments have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, and the prime minister has been criticized for giving the green light to the expansion of oil and gas operations in the North Sea and after reports suggested she is opposed to the installation of solar panels on productive agricultural lands.
Labor pledges to create publicly owned energy company
Mr Miliband will also visit a solar farm on Friday, and is expected to set out his party’s opposition to any plan that would block new solar projects.
“If Liz Truss blocks solar power she will be declaring unilateral energy disarmament – undermining our energy security and forcing the British people to accept decades of higher energy bills,” Mr Miliband said.
“Only Labor can deliver lower energy bills and energy security for the UK, with our plans for clean power by 2030 – including trebling solar power – and GB Energy, a publicly-owned, clean energy company, to make Britain an energy independent superpower. “