The Sun, March 14, Matt Ridley
When Lorraine Allanson spoke up in favour of drilling for shale gas in her part of North Yorkshire, activists cut off her internet, called her a “whore” and linked her to a fake crime number.
“Shouting, abuse, public defecation, intimidation, hijacking lorries to stop deliveries, blocking the village street, this was the locals’ daily experience,” she wrote in her book My Story.
The wave of noisy protests against shale gas in Lancashire and Yorkshire in recent years looked like a grassroots movement. It was anything but.
It was peopled by a middle class rent-a-crowd, ramped up by misleading scare stories from Friends of the Earth, amplified by the BBC and The Guardian, funded by wealthy hedge-fund billionaires and welcomed by incumbent energy firms worried by the prospect of new competition for renewables, nuclear or offshore gas.
All this suited Vladimir Putin’s regime, because banning shale kept the gas underground and left us more dependent on Russia for our energy supplies.
Unlike Germany, the UK gets most of its gas from Norway and Qatar, but an increasing amount comes directly from Russia.
And the refusal of Europe to frack helped drive up the gas price everywhere.
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