UK tries to persuade fraccing opponents

THE UK Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) has released a report on the potential for shale gas in the UK but added a sweetener to try to appease environmentalists.

Bianca Bartucciotto

The committee said it was too early to tell whether the UK shale market would have the same ferocity as the US market, but said the government was willing to work on finding out.

ECCC chairman Tim Yeo said the government had to encourage investment and add some benefits for consumers.

“The government has dithered on this issue and should now encourage companies to get on and drill, to establish whether significant recoverable resources exist,” he said.

“If substantial shale resources do turn out to be recoverable in the UK – and community concerns can be addressed – then it could limit future energy price rises, reduce our reliance on imported gas and generate considerable tax revenues.”

On the topic of addressing community concerns, The Financial Times reports that the government proposes “bribing” communities with cheaper electricity bills in exchange for dropping opposition to local fraccing plans.

The paper reports cheaper energy bills are the biggest incentive being discussed by the UK government to drum up support for exploration.

Sentiment towards fraccing has been negative in the UK after two minor earthquakes caused by fraccing operations in Lancashire in 2011 shut down operations.

The Cuadrilla-owned fraccing operation was allowed to restart in December.