DUP MP Sammy Wilson attacks green 'Luddites' over opposition to fracking
DUP MP Sammy Wilson has launched a new attack on "green Luddites" who want to take people back to travelling by horse and cart.
His fresh assault came after Prime Minister Theresa May suggested a payment for households of up to £10,000 if fracking for oil and gas was given the go-ahead in their areas.
Supporting the move, the former Stormont Environment Minister said it would "counter the influence of the green activists who descend on areas where projects are planned".
The Green Party said the comments were no surprise.
But Mr Wilson said the PM's promise to pay households up to £10,000 if fracking for gas and oil gets planning permission in their area "is a great boost to the exploration of gas and oil in the UK".
"Hopefully this policy announcement is the start of the Government showing a willingness to take on the green Luddites who, if they had their way, would take us back to travelling by horse and cart, lighting our homes with tallow candles and living in cold conditions because we couldn't burn coal, oil, gas or wood for fear of putting the world temperature up by half-a-degree in a century's time," he added.
"Or even worse, driving around in their fancy cars going home to their centrally heated homes but expecting the fuel to be extracted in other parts of the world by the exact same methods which they reject in the UK.
"The UK needs to exploit fully the natural resources available to it.
"The impetus which gas from fracking has given to the US economy should not be spurned in the UK and hopefully the incentives being promised to households in affected areas will counter the influence of the green activists who descend on areas where projects are planned claiming to be representative of local residents and then preventing firms from going about their legitimate businesses. The Government proposal will focus local residents on the personal losses which they face by the invasion of eco warriors.
"More importantly, it should help reduce the willingness to blindly follow the often ill-informed opposition which has delayed planning decisions and sometimes persuaded public representatives against their better judgment to oppose projects which bring wealth to an area and energy security to the nation."
Mr Wilson added that along with the promise to introduce new grammar schools, spend more money on infrastructure projects and ensure that growth affects all regions of the UK, it showed that Mrs May was "prepared to be bold to prepare the UK to be competitive in the future".
Green Party representative for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tanya Jones said: "Of course the UK should be responsibly utilising our natural resources and this is why we advocate the development of safe, clean and renewable alternatives such as air, solar and tidal power.
"Effectively bribing local people to accept fracking, which is not an effective use of resources and threatens our health, our economy and our landscape, is entirely unacceptable.
"By following the evidence, people can make informed decisions as to what should be happening in their local environment.
"Mr Wilson's statement is disappointing, although unsurprising, and bordering on offensive. The disdain with which he dismisses those who see the bigger picture in terms of environmental sustainability and protecting our children's future is, sadly, plain to see."