Tim Yeo backs shale in his last speech

Tim Yeo, a long-standing Conservative MP and chair of the Commons energy and climate change select committee, yesterday backed shale gas in his last speech before standing down at the next General Election on 7 May 2015.

Tim Yeo, who is a staunch advocate of clean energy, said that the next government must put shale at the centre of its energy policy and that the time had come to make the ‘green’ case for fracking.

He told The Guardian: “There is an opportunity now, and it might not exist in a few years [when other European countries have developed fracking],” and went on to say “people who think fracking is an environmental problem are mistaken.”

Mr Yeo points to the environmental advantages of displacing coal in electricity production using shale gas, where it substitutes for imported LNG, and says he feels the coalition Government has been too timid in making the climate argument in favour of exploiting Britain’s rich deposits.

He also said many green groups were opposing fracking because of a “visceral reaction to anything involving fossil fuels”, but that the UK could meet its commitments on carbon reduction while producing gas from shale.

Lee Petts, chief executive of the Onshore Energy Services Group and managing director of Lancashire-based environmental consultants Remsol, said: “While the business and economic benefits of shale gas are important, it is vital that our policymakers also consider the enormous environmental benefits natural gas has to offer the UK.  Only by switching from dirty coal to natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy sources are we going to meet our mandated carbon targets.”