‘Bribe’ slur on fracking incentives
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