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Anti-frackers slam Government backing of shale gas production
5:00am Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
Anti-fracking campaigners have slammed Government ministers after they backed the introduction of large-scale shale gas production by 2020.
A report published this week revealed thousands of jobs could be created and almost £1 billion given to local communities if the underground energy resource is extracted properly.
Ministers also published a “regulatory roadmap” which sets out what permits developers need before drilling in the Sussex countryside.
But campaigners rubbished the findings, claiming it would lead to the pollution of the environment and water supplies.
Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth South East campaigner, spent yesterday meeting residents in two areas where Celtique Energy has applied to carry out test drilling.
Following the announcement, she said: “Dangling financial sweeteners in front of communities to get them to accept dirty fracking schemes, which will keep the nation hooked on climate-changing fossil fuels, is a disgrace.”
Shale gas extraction, or fracking, has proved to be hugely controversial, sparking protests in areas including Balcombe in Sussex.
The report produced for the Government by engineering giant Amec set out the potential effects of shale oil and gas production.
As well as the economic benefits, it admitted high levels of shale gas production could adversely affect the environment through increased traffic and pressure on water resources.
A consultation will now run until March to consider the findings of the report and how this affects shale gas production in the UK.
Energy minister Michael Fallon said: “It is an exciting prospect but we must develop shale responsibly, both for local communities and for the environment, with robust regulation in place.”
The news comes as energy firm Cuadrilla has applied to West Sussex County Council for another licence to test flow the existing well at Balcombe.
This involves monitoring the well to gauge the rate of oil flowing through it.
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