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UKIP man slams Balcombe protesters and Green MP Caroline Lucas
Balcombe's anti-fracking campaigners are “eco- freaks, ” “rent-a-mob pro- testers” and “swampies” while Caroline Lucas “sub- verts residents proper concerns for her own political ends”.
The accusations, delivered by UKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer at the party’s conference in London yester- day, also suggested anti-frack- ing protesters were trying kill off “the greatest new economic opportunity for our country in our lifetimes.”
In his speech about climate change and energy, Mr Helmer said he sometimes thought Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion who was recently arrested for protesting at the Balcombe camp, wouldn’t be happy until every household in the UK has to subsist on an acre and a cow.”
“But then again, the Greens don't like cows, because they burp methane, ” he added.
Mr Helmer’s comments refer to a national row national over the controversial fracking process, where rock is blasted with water to release shale gas.
Energy firm Cuadrilla had, until recently, been conducting exploratory drilling in Balcombe in search of shale oil and gas.
Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands, said “scare stories” about potential environmental effects from fracking were promoted by green groups and Russian and Middle East oil and gas exporters.
He continued: “I have absolutely no sympathy for the rent-a-mob protesters, the swampies and the Occupy Movement and the anti-capi- talists and eco-freaks who have sought to hijack the Balcombe protest.
“I have no time for Vivienne Westwood and Bianca Jagger and Caroline Lucas, who subvert residents proper concerns for their own political ends.”
Vanessa Vine, of fracking protest group Frack Free Sussex, said the majority of protesters at Balcombe were “intelligent, altruistic, well- informed people of immense integrity.
She said: "Unlike the risible Mr Helmer, the selfless Balcombe protectors have taken heed of the real evidence and under- stand why certain political/industrial entities are seeking to deceive us all.”
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “UKIP claim to be in tune with popular opinion but the latest polls show three times as many people would support new wind turbines within ten miles of their home than would support a shale gas well.
"Farage and co are out of touch when it comes to their support for such an unpopular and dirty source of energy.
“The renewable energy industry is creating thousands of jobs in small British businesses, so UKIP should really be supporting it.”
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