Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has hit out at potential fracking within the city region, arguing the area should instead focus on renewable and carbon-free energy to achieve its ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2040.
Rotheram said there was “no need or justification for shale gas extraction” in the city region, hitting out at a scoping opinion request lodged by energy firm Aurora to Sefton Council, as it looks to explore potential fracking in Great Altcar.
Both Sefton and the Wirral have been earmarked as two potential areas for fracking and shale gas extraction, but Rotheram said this would conflict with the city’s plans to be carbon-neutral in around 20 years’ time.
The mayor added the case against fracking was not “simply based on concerns about safety” or any potential impact on the environment, but that it is “unnecessary for a region and a nation with vast and underexploited potential for renewable energy”.
He said: “I have talked about our city region becoming the UK’s energy coast, but that does not and should not include shale gas extraction. We are home to Europe’s biggest off-shore wind farm, and with plans to harness the power of the River Mersey, we could be generating the equivalent of four nuclear power stations, or 20% of the UK’s domestic residential power needs.
“Our focus is entirely on renewable and carbon-free energy production, including hydrogen capture, as the foundation for a successful and sustainable future economy.”
Among Rotheram’s proposals for renewable energy in the region include a “multi-billion pound” tidal energy project in the River Mersey.
In November last year, he appointed former Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire to head up the region’s special purpose vehicle for the project, who will work up a business case for the scheme by the end of 2018.
The mayor concluded: “The UK Government needs to do a great deal more to live up to its responsibilities to avert the devastating impacts of climate change, which ironically pose a direct threat to our low-lying coastal areas where fracking companies want to operate. I want this City Region to be a beacon and an international exemplar for green renewable energy.”