Green energy firm Ecotricity has set out to challenge the shale gas industry by submitting planning applications for rival Green Gas Mills on proposed fracking sites.
The company has put in Green Gas Mill applications at two fracking sites in Lancashire: Preston New Road, rejected by Lancashire Council, but then approved by the government over the heads of local people; and Roseacre Wood, also rejected by Lancashire councilors this year, but which looks set to be the next site forced through by the government.
In a new report released last month, Green Gas: The Opportunity for Britain, Ecotricity unveiled a national plan for Britain to get its gas through a new and sustainable method, using species-rich grass grown on farmland.
The report found that there is enough grassland to provide almost all of Britain’s household gas demand by 2035 – in the process creating a new industry supporting 150,000 jobs and pumping £7.5billion into the economy every year.
Green gas will make big cuts to carbon emissions, create wildlife habitats on an unprecedented scale, support food production by improving soils, and provide support for farmers who are set to lose EU subsidies following Brexit.
Ecotricity recently won planning permission to build its first Green Gas Mill in Hampshire – one of six sites in development. However, the company’s latest applications at potential fracking sites in Lancashire, are part of a wider strategic campaign to prevent shale gas exploitation, highlight the lack of democracy in the planning process and illustrate there is an alternative way to make our gas.
In addition, Ecotricity has financially supported the legal action taken by communities against fracking at Ryedale in Yorkshire and Balcombe in West Sussex.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “Local opposition to fracking is simply being ignored – it’s the most unpopular energy source ever, but it’s being forced on people by the government.
“We want to show that there‘s an alternative to fracking – and start a local debate in the areas directly affected by it, in the same way we want to start a debate at the national level, including the House of Commons.
“It’s important not just to oppose fracking, but to have an answer as to where Britain is going to get its gas from as North Sea supplies run out.
“Green gas is the new option – this is something that local communities should be able to choose instead of fracking, and something the government should now consider.
“It’s not too late to prevent fracking – it hasn’t really started yet. We’ve unveiled a new way of making gas – it’s a viable alternative to fracking, and the right thing to do in light of this new option is to have a proper review of where we’re going to get our gas in Britain.
“That’s why we’re calling on Theresa May to think again and look at green gas as the genuine alternative.”