Richard Drax

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Richard Drax

Richard Drax has been the Conservative Party MP for South Dorset since 2010.[1] He is the great-grandson of John Plunkett, the Conservative MP for Thornbury 1886-92.[2]

Drax retained his seat in the 2015 general election, gaining 49 per cent of the vote and a majority of 11,994. [3]

Stance on fracking

Calls for cuts to renewable subsidies in favour of fracking

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

In June 2013, Drax wrote an article in a local Dorset newspaper calling on government to cut subsidies to renewable energies and endorse fracking as means of boosting cheap energy supplies and 'ensuring the continuity of supply in future'.

He argued: 'of course, I am keen we explore more environmentally friendly ways of running our economy, but we have to deal with reality'. [4] In response, a different Dorset community news outlet criticised Drax's endorsement of fracking as 'nihilistic'. [5]

Later that same year however Drax was accused of hypocrisy after winning planning permission to build a 174 acre solar farm on his county estate, the third biggest solar farm in Britain. The project is expected to receive £2 million a year in the same government subsidies Drax opposed. The local planning authority received over 500 objections to Drax's application, with residents saying 'he has gone against the views and wishes many of the local community', bemoaning the 'industrialisation of the countryside'. Drax refused to comment. [6]

Drax's constituency includes seven oil and gas licence blocks, awarded to energy companies by the Oil and Gas Authority under the 14th licensing round in 2015. Three of these licenses went to South Western Energy, two went to Perenco and two to Infrastrata. There are currently plans to conduct 3D seismic surveying across these blocks, but not to drill wells. No applications are yet underway. [7]

Voting record

Draw has voted inconsistently against greater regulation of fracking; most notably voting for more pre-conditions on where fracking can occur, but against less regulation in national parks. [8]

  • 26 January 2015: voted against making fracking companies apply for an environmental permit before conducting exploratory drilling. He also voted against an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill to include an 18 month moratorium on fracking.
  • 11 February 2015: voted in favour of requiring more pre-conditions for where fracking can take place.
  • 16 December 2015: voted in favour of loosening regulations on fracking in protected areas and national parks.


  1. Richard Drax,, accessed 29 October 2013.
  2. Sarah Priddy, PIL: Current Members Related to Other Current or Former Members - Commons Library Standard Note, 13 September 2013.
  3. Dorset South Parliamentary constituency BBC News, accessed 21 May 2015
  4. Richard Drax, Richard Drax MP: fracking on the agenda, DorsetECHO, 7 June 2013, accessed 16 November 2016.
  5. You must be fracking joking Mr Drax, Dorset Eye, accessed 16 November 2016.
  6. Hayley Dixon, Tory MP accused of hypocrisy over solar farm plans, The Telegraph, 13 November 2013, accessed 16 November 2016.
  7. Oil and gas: licensing rounds,, accessed 14 November 2016.
  8. TheyWorkForYou | Richard Drax, , TheyWorkForYou, accessed 14 November 2016.