Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has co-signed a petition with more than 150 other famous names calling on the Government to immediately suspend the UK’s fracking drive.
The 166-word letter, published today in The Times, describes how the dash to extract shale gas has the potential to “leave a damaging environmental legacy for future generations”.
It signals the start of a new “We Need To Talk About Fracking” campaign, which already has the support of a list of celebrities, scientists, politicians and lawyers.
As well as Sir Paul McCartney, the other 161 signatories of the letter include Bianca Jagger, Yoko Ono, Russell Brand, Jude Law, Michael Mansfield QC, Tracey Emin and Helena Bonham Carter.
Campaign organisers have set up a series of debates in Glasgow, Nottingham, Manchester, Swansea and London, under the slogan “This is a critical moment for Britain. The Government’s plans to introduce fracking will change the UK forever”.
The text of the open letter reads: “The Government’s plans to introduce fracking will change the UK for ever. David Cameron and the energy minister Michael Fallon have both told us to get ready for fracking. Already more than 60 per cent of the country will be licensed for fracking, and planning rules are being changed to allow for central government to override community objections.
“The Government says that fracking is safe even though it is banned in several European countries and US states. There is substantial evidence showing that fracking causes water stress and risks water contamination and soil contamination, earth tremors – and is a threat to human, wildlife, bird, fish and livestock health.
“This technology will not bring down fuel bills and will not provide a jobs boom, but it has the potential to leave a damaging environmental legacy for future generations.
“We urge the government to suspend fracking immediately while a genuinely independent, balanced and thorough public debate is held into the potential dangers this industry holds for the UK.”
The five public #Talkfracking debates are being held on Monday June 9 in Glasgow, Tuesday, June 10 in Nottingham, Wednesday, June 11 in Manchester, Thursday, June 12 in Swansea and Monday, June 16 in London.