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Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood criticises Church’s response to fracking

02 June 2017


Warning: Dame Vivienne Westwood and the “Grim Reaper” with their anti-fracking report outside the gates of Lambeth Palace

Warning: Dame Vivienne Westwood and the “Grim Reaper” with their anti-fracking report outside the gates of Lambeth Palace

DAME Vivienne Westwood, with a man dressed as the Grim Reaper, delivered an anti-fracking report by hand to Lambeth Palace last week.

The report argues that the Gov­­ern­ment’s scientific assessment of the dangers of fracking wildly un­­­der­­estimated the impact on climate change of the method and its emis­­sions.

In January, a Church of England working party produced its own briefing on fracking, concluding that it could be “morally acceptable” provided it did not delay or distract from efforts to switch to renewable energy and meet emissions targets (News, 20 January).

But Dame Vivienne, on behalf of the campaign group Talk Fracking, said that fracking could not act as a bridge to cleaner energy.

After handing over their report to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s public-affairs adviser, Jack Palmer-White, at the gates of Lambeth Palace, Dame Vivienne criticised the C of E’s support for fracking.

“The Church are putting profits ahead of people and backing the Tory fracking con,” she said. “Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the Archbishop of Canter­­bury worked in the oil in­­­dustry for ten years. . .

“Unfortunately, the Church are now a corporation and are putting profits ahead of people.”

A Lambeth Palace spokeswoman confirmed that the report had been received.

A 2013 report commissioned by the Government on fracking con­­cluded that both fracking, and the shale gas it extracted would have carbon footprints similar to, or smaller than, conventional natural gas, and significantly fewer green­­house gas emissions than coal.

But Talk Fracking’s report, by the independent researcher Paul Mobbs, argues that the 2013 study under­­estimated the emissions from frack­­ing, and was being used to justify the process, which would make it impossible for the UK to meet its climate-change targets.

The Conservative Party’s election manifesto commits to allowing fracking in Britain, as long as it maintains “public confidence” in the initiative. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have vowed to ban the technique.

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