In a speech due to be given to party members in London, the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) energy spokesman Roger Helmer is set to label those rallying against the controversial extraction technique as “eco-freaks” and say they are killing off “the greatest new economic opportunity for our country in our lifetimes”.
This comes just days after former government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King said that fracking could have many environmental consequences which were not worth risking for shale gas. He added that the latter would only ever be a backup energy source.
The heated debates over fracking and the use of shale gas have come to the boil in recent weeks, with Prime Minister David Cameron claiming that it is a long-term solution that will lower the energy bills of British consumers. Helmer, however, will concede at the party conference that this may not be the case.
UKIP spokesman has ‘no concern’ for protesters
Protests against fracking have been common in recent times, with energy company Cuadrilla being targeted in for carrying out exploratory drilling in West Sussex.
Speaking of those who have opposed fracking, Helmer will tell the party conference in London: “I have absolutely no sympathy for the rent-a-mob protesters, the swampies and the Occupy Movement and the anti-capitalists and eco-freaks who have sought to hijack the Balcombe protest.”
Helmer is a climate change sceptic, who says he has no time for the hysteria surrounding the belief that the burning of fossil fuels is driving the change in the climate.
Environmental impact is a ‘scare story’
Helmer is also expected to go further, and will tell the conference that there is little truth behind the “scare stories” linked to fracking.
In terms of renewable energy, Helmer will also dismiss the use of wind farms to generate electricity, describing the offshore technology as a “non-solution to a non-problem.”
UKIP is also proposing that tax revenue from shale gas extraction should be used to invest in a sovereign wealth fund that will secure long-term benefits for the UK.