Labour will ban mining of shale gas if it comes to power, the party has announced.
Shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner received a long ovation when he told delegates at the party’s annual conference: “A future Labour government will ban fracking.”
The Conservative government has consistently backed shale gas mining, with 12 energy firms last year promised licences to carry out the controversial activity across 27 onshore locations.
Gardiner said in Liverpool this morning: “There are technical problems with fracking that give rise to real environmental danger but these can be overcome.
“The real reason to ban fracking is that it locks us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels long after this country needs to move to clean energy.”
Meanwhile, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald used his speech at the conference to slam construction of infrastructure under the current government.
“Transport systems should have fairness, value for money, quality and reliability of service and, crucially, accessibility for all,” he said.
“Sadly, those imperatives in the drive for profits and dividends are all too often absent. What do we see instead?
“Infrastructure work repeatedly delayed and over budget… a third of our local roads in need of urgent attention… and it is no surprise that under this chaotic Tory government, HS2’s prospects for improving connections between the North and South seem more distant than ever.”
McDonald said that as private rail service contracts expired, routes would return to public ownership so profits could be re-invested to improve services.
Shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce said the party would bring forward a Housing and Planning Act to boost home building – and the construction of infrastructure alongside residential developments.
“We would remove the shackles from local government so they could build the homes of all tenures and infrastructure their communities need,” she said.
“Through our National Investment Bank and regional development banks, we’ll also provide the necessary infrastructure.”