‘Bribe’ slur on frack­ing in­cen­tives

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

Plans to give coun­cils 100% of busi­ness rates from en­ergy com­pa­nies who set up frack­ing wells rep­re­sent a bribe and a bid to buy off op­po­si­tion, say cam­paign­ers and the Green Party.

Busi­ness min­is­ter and Kent MP Michael Fal­lon said the gov­ern­ment wanted lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to ben­e­fit from any shale gas ex­trac­tion. Mean­while a French en­ergy com­pany plans to in­vest £12.7m in ex­ploratory drilling.

Mr Fal­lon said it would be ir­re­spon­si­ble to ig­nore the po­ten­tial from frack­ing in view of spi­ralling en­ergy prices but that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties should ben­e­fit.

“We want lo­cal coun­cils and lo­cal peo­ple to ben­e­fit from this ex­plo­ration. We ex­pect 20 to 40 wells to be drilled in ex­plo­ration over the next cou­ple of years and I think it’s very im­por­tant that lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties see some of the ben­e­fit,” he said.

Un­der gov­ern­ment pro­pos­als, coun­cils that granted drilling li­cences would re­ceive 100% of busi­ness rates paid by en­ergy com­pa­nies and could also ben­e­fit by up to £10m per well­head if shale gas was suc­cess­ful.

Anti-frack­ing cam­paign­ers dis­missed the pro­posal.

Rose­mary Rechter, from the cam­paign group East Kent Against Frack­ing, said: “I think it’s a bribe, I don’t think you can com­pen­sate peo­ple for the loss of qual­ity of life for the noise and nui­sance.”

Kent Green county coun­cil­lor Martin Why­brow said: “No amount of money could com­pen­sate for the dam­age there may be to lo­cal wa­ter sup­plies.”

Kent is thought to have po­ten­tial for meth­ane gas.

Cllr Martin Why­brow

Busi­ness Min­is­ter and Kent MP Michael Fal­lon

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