UKIP hails shale gas and slams Gov’s ‘over reliance on renewables’

The Government's "obsessive reliance" on renewables is driving energy intensive businesses offshore, while pushing households and pensioners into fuel poverty, according to UKIP's Roger Helmer.

Speaking at the UKIP party conference in London today, industry and energy spokesman Roger Helmer MEP said these issues will get worse if the UK continues to pursue “the ridiculous Brussels objective” of 20% renewables by 2020.

Announcing UKIP’s position on energy policy, Helmer said the political party has two key objectives.

He announced energy security as the first challenge and pointed to Ofgem reports that suggest the UK is at real risk of power outages “in the next two or three years on current policies”.

Helmer said the second objective is affordable energy to ensure households “stay warm in the winter” and industry remains competitive.

To meet these objectives, Helmer said the UK must rely on “proven, grown-up generating technologies like coal, oil, gas and nuclear”.

“That’s in contrast to this Government’s reliance on playground technology like wind and solar,” he added.

Although claiming coal was being extracted and managed in a cleaner way, Helmer acknowledged that the resource has been damaging to health and the environment. He then went on to laud shale gas as the answer to replacing coal and the UK’s energy needs.

Helmer said that shale gas offers a vast range of economic benefits from jobs and investment in the gas sector, enhanced competitiveness for British industry and energy security “with far lower emissions than major alternatives”.

Slamming those opposed to shale gas, particulalry environmental NGOs and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Helmer claimed that her recent arrest during a protest at Balcombe in West Sussex, where oil drilling has been explored, was “simply a publicity stunt”.

Similarly, UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage attacked the environmental movement in June, claiming it has become politicised, urbanised and ‘full of profound deep ignorance’.

In an exclusive interview with edie, Farage said he has been a keen supporter of environmental issues since the late 1980’s but attacked those driving the movement today, claiming that it has turned into an ‘industry’.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie