UKIP’s energy spokesperson, Roger Helmer, has accused anti-fracking campaigners of being “eco-freaks” and trying to kill off the “greatest new economic opportunity”.
Speaking at the party’s conference in London, Helmer said, “I have absolutely no sympathy for the rent-a-mob protesters, the swampies and the Occupy Movement and the anti-capitalist and eco-freaks who sought to hijack the Balcombe protest.”
He added that whilst he respected the local people in Balcombe for campaigning against a proposed test drilling site, there is no truth behind media “scare stories”. He continued, “[Fracking] is probably the greatest new economic opportunity for our country in our lifetimes. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to make the most of it.”
Fracking has become a controversial topic, with research suggesting it can cause earthquakes and poses numerous environmental risks. Sir David King recently said the practice could have “enormous environmental consequences”.
UKIP’s impressive performance in the local elections in May, in which the party captured 23% of the popular vote, saw it come third overall. As a result, UKIP’s policies are becoming more important.
The party takes a sceptical stance on manmade global warming and generally sees renewable technology as expensive and ineffective. Helmer highlighted this in his speech, stating that wind turbines are a “non-solution to a non-problem”.
Instead of renewables, the party encourages the need for more gas. Gas is “essential” for increasing competitiveness in British industry, improving employment and growth prospects, argued Helmer.