Fasion designer and environmental campaigner Vivienne Westwood launched a stinging attack on British politicians on Wednesday for their support for drilling for shale gas.

"Napoleon said the English were a nation of shopkeepers. By that I take it to mean they'd sell their grandmother for money, and that's what's going on," Westwood told AFP.

"They are zombies to the idea of profit."

Prime Minister David Cameron this week promised local authorities all of the tax yields from fracking sites in a bid to boost support for the controversial technique to reach previously unreachable sources of gas.

But Westwood joined environmentalist protesters in denouncing the move as "bribes" and warning the impact of blasting open deep fissures using high pressure water jets was yet another example of destruction of the Earth for profit.

"Politicians are locked into this age-old thing where they're destroying the Earth and they think it's the best thing because they're not thinking," she said.

She added: "Once governments stop giving assets to companies and corporations then the world will really, really change.

"As soon as you start to implement actions and policy that what is good for the planet is good for the economy, and what's bad for the planet is bad for the economy... you get different values, a fairer system of politics, everything."

The opposition Labour party supports fracking as long as concerns about safety and the environmental impact are addressed, but Westwood said its leader Ed Miliband was a "pathetic creature" for failing to speak out.

She was speaking at a press conference for a campaign to establish criminal liability in the EU for causing the large-scale destruction of the planet's ecosystems.

The End Ecocide campaign has gathered almost 100,000 signatures on a petition to the European Commission, but needs one million by January 21 if it is to trigger a citizen's initiative that requires officials to take action.

Westwood has long campaigned for action against climate change, and at London Fashion Week in September urged people, particularly poor people, to buy less clothes.

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