New Cycle Maps for Waveney

Rupert Read and Graham Elliott on a fact-finding mission at the Orbis Energy Centre in Lowestoft

Greens say renewables deserve tax breaks, not fracking

The Green Party Lead Euro-Candidate in the East, Rupert Read, says the Government is wrong to promote fracking, over viable renewable technologies.

While the government was announcing huge tax breaks for local councils to accept shale-gas wells, Dr Read joined Graham Elliott (Green Party Councillor on Waveney District Council) on a fact-finding mission to Orbis Energy Centre in Lowestoft yesterday to discover the alternatives.

The Orbis Energy Centre houses award-winning offshore energy companies. Dr Read said:

"There is huge potential for the work being done at Orbis. I've been shown a device that could protect Yarmouth and the Broads from flooding, whilst also creating jobs and generating clean energy for centuries. I'm asking why the types of marine-energy solutions I've seen here cannot receive the same tax breaks and fast-tracked planning as fracking. Or, better still: pull the money from fracking and put it into East Anglian marine energy instead.

"Evidence from the U.S. indicates that the shale-gas boom may not last. Estimates suggest that U.S. shale-gas production will peak in 2017 and fall to 2012 levels within two years.

"Fracking is a short-term solution and we need to think more radically, over the next two centuries when it comes to energy production.

"We may see fracking come to Lincolnshire and the North Norfolk Coast. This would result in the boom-and-bust scenarios we saw with coal mining: ugly mineshafts, decimated landscapes with the frackers moving on in 25 years. This is what I'm anxious to avoid."

At Orbis, Dr Read met Mark Aspinall of the research and development engineering company 4NRg and Jonathan Reynolds of Nautilus Associates, a locally based consultancy helping public and private sector organisations to explore opportunities in low-carbon industries. He heard that the energy generated from projects in development at Orbis pay for their running costs and all that is needed is the initial capital investment.

"I see integrated marine-energy and coastal-protection projects as potential saviours of our coastline - regenerating coastal towns, creating lasting jobs, producing clean-energy and protecting us from flooding. Whereas this government along with Labour, and UKIP favour fracking when there is really no contest.

"If elected in May, I will aim to streamline the FP7 planning procedure to fast-track such renewable projects as these and ensure local communities get to keep the tax generated from them."

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