This is an open letter to Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for Worthing East and Shoreham.
You may not even be aware of the crazy idea to ‘maximise recovery’ of UK oil and gas as stated in the Infrastructure Bill (Part 4)- that it should be made law. This is in clear opposition to the internationally recognised need to slow down (and soon stop) the extraction of fossil fuels.
Why is the Government not instead making a law to maximise the use of renewable energy? The Infrastructure Bill would take away the rights of UK property owners to stop drilling, storage and dumping of ANY substances deep down in their land, and give unrestricted access, storage and dumping rights to the oil and gas industry instead!
You might think ‘kick starting the economy’ is a ‘vote winner’, but if in chasing money (which actually may end up as stranded assets) you betray people, risk their health and remove their ancient property rights, I ask ‘Who are you ‘kick starting’ the economy for?’
So I request in the strongest possible terms, that you attend the second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons - (date to be announced) - and stand up in parliament to speak on behalf of your constituents - not just the ones who own property, but all of us who want to hand future generations a planet which has not been ruined.
You should be working to ensure we all have a future - and that we attain the climate change commitments we have made, instead of acting in direct opposition of them. Pretending that this could be ‘on the way’ to renewable energy is like an alcoholic saying ‘on my way to sobriety I’m going to the pub’.
Fossil fuels are not ‘bridge’ fuels - methane emissions data shows drilling and pipelines always cause leakage of extremely damaging greenhouse gases - they are a gangplank.
Even if leaks could be controlled, ‘maximising recovery of oil and gas’ necessarily inhibits investment in renewable energy and is a shockingly short sighted strategy for the 21st century - especially when the focus is on ‘economic recovery’ - i.e. profit before proper regulation (were that possible).
That the Infrastructure Bill plans to make it the ‘principle strategy’ and actually would make extraction of oil and gas a legal requirement is almost incomprehensible - perhaps you haven’t understood. I expect this insidious legislation was written by the oil and gas lobbying groups.
Wealth in the UK, so linked to the Empire and industrial revolution, was made at the expense of other parts of our planet. We have played a significant part in a massive worldwide environmental mess. Unthinking ‘progress’ is part of our heritage and MPs cannot ignore the UK’s particular responsibility any longer.
To make law ‘maximising recovery’ of oil and gas now, at this critical point in the 21st century, and in this manner shows utter contempt not only for UK landowners and caring citizens, but also, because of the climate change implications, it shows utter contempt for all other members of the planet and all future generations.
As you did not write the Bill, you are not currently to blame - but it will soon become clear where you stand. So, I ask you, stand in voice and vote, against it.
Victoria Road, Southwick, and South Downs farm owner