Yesterday I challenged Ministers from the Department of Communities and Local Government about the impact potential fracking might have on the local tourism industry.
Following on from a question about government support for coastal communities I asked,
“The Minister will be aware that tourism plays an important role in our coastal communities, so how damaging does he think the potential fracking wells on the Fylde coast would be to our tourism industry in the Blackpool area?”
Mark Francois MP, Minister of State for Communities and Local Government replied,
“I should hope that fracking would not have an impact on tourism as such, although I understand the sensitivities involved in that issue. We are doing a lot to support tourism in the hon. Lady’s constituency through the coastal communities fund. Wyre Borough Council was given a £1.55 million grant in 2014 to create new attractions along Fleetwood seafront to attract more visitors throughout the year. Lancashire County Council got just under £250,000 in 2015 to unlock the heritage potential of Lancaster’s historic St George’s quay. I believe the fund is doing well around the country, particularly in the hon. Lady’s constituency.”
The Minister failed to address the question I asked about the risk fracking poses to tourism on the Fylde Coast and across North Lancashire. Whilst I welcome the investment we do get from the coastal communities fund, it fails to address the issue that tourists will be put off by the sight of fracking wells ruining our beautiful countryside.
Much has been made of claims that fracking might bring jobs; but Cuadrilla’s rejected applications to frack in Lancashire state that the total net employment was expected to be just 11 jobs at each of the two sites , and the only jobs for local people would have been in security and cleaning. Meanwhile the tens of thousands of jobs in tourism in our area would be in jeopardy.
Energy campaigner for Greenpeace, Hannah Martin, said:
“During Cuadrilla’s application process, it was clear to the public and the Lancashire community that fracking would have a negative impact on the countryside, bringing noise, air and light pollution as well as impacting house prices and the tourism industry. A recent government survey shows that support for fracking is plummeting across the UK and the majority of people in the local community do not want fracking to happen in Lancashire, after years of protest.”