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A study showing that fracking can be less environmentally damaging than installing solar panels or offshore wind turbines has been welcomed by MEP Paul Nuttall.

The production of panels and turbines results in greater depletion of natural resources, toxicity to humans and impact on freshwater and marine organisms, according to the study by the University of Manchester.

“This report lends credence to our support for shale gas and against the so-called green energy methods of solar panels and turbines,” said Mr Nuttall, North West UKIP Euro-MP and deputy party leader.

The study found that heavy metals and other toxic elements used in the life cycle of solar panels and wind turbines give them a “human toxicity” rating at least three times greater than for shale.

Solar panels cause more damage to the ozone layer than shale gas because of the use of tetrafluoroethylene in the production of cells. And the silver and tellurium used to produce silicon cells for panels and the steel used in turbines mean these renewable energy sources score far worse than shale for “resource depletion.

“I appreciate this study is not saying that shale gas is definitely the way forward and UKIP believes that there must be stringent tests before it goes ahead but fracking offers a massive opportunity for secure energy provision for decades to come,” said Mr Nuttall.

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“In a country like the UK, not known for its sunshine, solar panels do not make much dent in energy needs and wind turbines, both on land and off shore, just make money for wealthy wind farm owners and provide overpriced kilowatts of unpredictable power,” he added.

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