Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he has a ‘great deal’ of sympathy for residents living in a north Derbyshire village where plans to explore for shale gas have been approved.
Mr Corbyn visited the Green Lawns Community Centre in Marsh Lane on Thursday.
Speaking to the Derbyshire Times, he said: “I have a great deal of sympathy with them because it is a close-knit, strong community who are very worried about the environmental impact of fracking on ground water as well as air quality and the proximity of the well head to the school as well as to local residents and I just think it is fantastic the way they have all got together and campaigned on this one.”
On the huge numbers who turned out, he added: “It seems to be the whole village is here. It is a small village but what a great feeling here and it is real pleasure and honour to be here.”
Chemical giant Ineos has been granted permission to explore for shale gas reserves on land off Bramley Moor Lane in Marsh Lane, near Eckington, which could eventually lead to fracking taking place.
Earlier he told the packed out community centre that if he was elected Prime Minister then fracking would be banned completely.
He said: “The pollution caused to ground water as well as air pollution as a result of it and the dangers associated with it are very, very obvious. Our policy is to protect our environment. The explorartory licences that have been given are ones that we would strongly oppose and an in-coming Labour government would end fracking altogether in Britain.”
On former North East Derbyshire MP, Natascha Engel, being named as the new Commissioner for Shale Gas, Mr Corbyn said: “I am very disappointed in that. I wish she had not taken that position because our party position is against fracking.”
In response, Derbyshire County Council’s Conservative leader, Councillor Barry Lewis, said: “Despite all the hand-wringing today from local Labour politicians, we really do need to question Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to ban fracking should we ever have the misfortune to have him as our Prime Minister. He’s failed to stick to key promises on Brexit and student debt. How can we ever trust him to keep his promises on anything else?”