October 11th, 2022.

Lewes Green Party release:

The Green Party in Lewes has criticised MP Maria Caulfield over last week’s controversial scrapping of the fracking ban, along with a series of announcements by Prime Minister Liz Truss which they say amount to ‘an assault on nature’.

In an interview with BBC Radio Sussex last Friday morning, Maria Caulfield stated that whilst she had previously been an opponent of fracking, she now believes that ‘circumstances have changed in terms of our energy needs.’

The Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Emily O’Brien, was interviewed alongside Maria Caulfield and stated afterwards that she was shocked, adding; “Fracking is dirty, damaging, unpopular and not proven to be safe. It is the wrong answer to our energy problem. Lifting this ban has opened the way for fracking to restart in Sussex, despite bitter opposition from residents. There are licences allocated not just in Balcombe but across West Sussex and into East Sussex around Wivelsfield. What we have seen is a betrayal of the commitment given in the government's manifesto that unless fracking is proven to be safe it will not go ahead.”

Emily O'Brien added; “The assurance given by Maria Caulfield that the fracking in Sussex will be subject to approval by local residents is simply not true. When it comes to granting planning permission, councils’ hands are already tied. And the government has just announced a new bill that will take decisions like this away from local councils altogether and see them made by central government.”

The Green Party has described a series of recent government announcements on environmental protections ranging from planning to farming as ‘an assault'. The proposals have also been heavily criticised by environmental groups, including the RSPB.

Emily O’Brien added that there had been no response to an open letter sent from every Green Party Councillor in the constituency, which called on Maria Caulfield to; “Make plain to Liz Truss that these policies must be reversed.”

“We have just seen the government's planning inspector overrule the local decision to turn down development on a greenfield site in Wivelsfield, and allow completely unsuitable development to take place, regardless of the environmental damage. I am calling on Maria to break her silence on the ripping up of environmental protection which has been so widely criticised, including by many Conservative MPs and voters, and to stand up for residents against fracking.”
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