Govt to remove property rights making fracking easier

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri May 23 23:12:22 BST 2014

Spoke to pro fracking Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg about this tonight too

David Cameron Faces Tory Backlash Over Fracking Set For Southern England

The Huffington Post/PA  |  Posted: 23/05/2014 09:07 BST
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Cameron is set to boost extra compensation 
offered to communities affected by controversial 
"fracking" to an average of £800,000 in a bid to 
bypass opposition in Tory heartlands.

The Prime Minister, an avid supporter of 
hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, will make the 
announcement as a survey is published showing the 
extent of shale gas reserves in the south of 
to the Times.

The government will hope the extra money quells 
criticism of plans to reform trespass laws to 
allow the fracking industry to grow to give 
Britain an alternative source of energy. 
Cameron's Tory colleague Lord Howell, Chancellor 
Osborne's father-in-law, recently warned that 
support for fracking was "seriously flawed"and 
that planned "bribes" would be a "complete waste" 
and end up "putting backs up and losing rural votes on a major scale".

"Those who have visited sites in America will 
also know that even after installation, the thump 
of compressors can be sensed up to two miles 
away, as well as the whiff of diesel from the 
compressor pump engines," he warned.

The government's increased compensation will be 
offered alongside one-off £100,000 payments in 
areas with fracking sites and a 1% share of profits made.

The announcement will come as the British 
Geological Survey (BGS) publishes a long-awaited 
study into the extent of shale gas reserves in 
the south of England. It is expected to show 
reserves in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, 
all areas where the Conservatives enjoy support.

Ministers firmly back the exploitation of shale 
gas reserves in rocks beneath the UK, claiming it 
could bring down energy bills and create 
thousands of jobs. Environmental activists are 
bitterly opposed to the technique, which 
opponents say can increase climate change, cause 
small earthquakes and pollute water supplies.

The Prime Minister has insisted fracking will be 
"good for our country" and has blamed a "lack of 
understanding" of the process for some of the opposition.

The BGS has already found large reserves of shale 
gas in the North but has now completed a 
months-long survey of the extent of it in the South.

Party MP Caroline Lucas said fracking would not 
bring down energy bills as the gas or oil 
exploited would be sold on European markets and not used in the UK.

She told BBC Two's Newsnight: "Even the boss of 
(fracking firm) Cuadrilla has said fracking in 
Britain wouldn't reduce energy prices.

"Lord Stern has called it baseless economics and 
that's because here in the UK if we frack in the 
UK we don't actually use that gas or oil in the 
UK, it gets sold on European markets at the going price.

"That's very different from the (United) States 
where because it's a much bigger country and they 
are less locked into those bigger world markets 
they use their own gas and oil as they frack.

"Even the experts, even the people who are in the 
forefront of the fracking ideology are saying 
actually that it's not going to lead to lower 
prices so if you want lower prices you need to go down the renewable route."

Andrew Austin, of IGas Energy, said his company 
already exploited oil and gas reserves in the 
south of England. He told Newsnight: "We've known 
that there's a big potential for oil and gas 
exploration across the country but particularly 
in terms of oil in the Weald basin which is the 
area that stretches roughly from Winchester 
across towards Gatwick up to the M25 and down to the coast at Chichester.

"There's been a long history of oil and gas 
exploration in this area. we as a company produce 
oil and gas from around 20 sites across that 
area, around 40 million barrels have been recovered to date across that area."

Friends of the Earth's South East regional 
campaigner Brenda Pollack questioned the timing 
of the announcement, coming after the local and European elections.

She said: "These latest estimates will set alarm 
bells ringing across the south east of England 
where fracking firms seem intent on punching 
holes in some of Britain's most beautiful 
countryside in the search for profits.

"No wonder the Government waited until after the 
elections to make this announcement as Lord 
Howell recently warned that fracking will cost 
the Tories thousands of votes in their heartlands.

"Shale oil and gas are not the solution to the 
UK's energy challenges. Rather than drilling for 
more dirty fossil fuels that will add to climate 
change, the Government should be backing 
renewable power and energy efficiency."

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