Families will be offered five-figure cash payouts under a radical plan to boost the drive for controversial shale gas fracking. The move marks a further dramatic departure by the new Prime Minister from David Cameron’s blueprint for Britain’s energy needs. The Lottery-style ‘Frackpot’ windfall scheme involves paying individual householders cash sums ‚Äì which could be as high as ¬£13,000 ‚Äì if they are living in areas where the gas can be extracted.
The move marks a further dramatic departure by the new Prime Minister from David Cameron’s blueprint for Britain’s energy needs. In just three weeks in Number Ten, Mrs May has scrapped the climate change department, threatened to scupper the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant deal with China and France, and now plans to transform Mr Cameron’s cautious fracking rewards scheme. Mrs May hopes her bold post-Brexit plan would allow access to Britain’s untapped energy reserve and give a boost to the economy. –Simon Walters, Mail on Sunday, 7 August 2016
Theresa May’s plan to dish out ¬£10,000 to every household near a shale gas well is a fracking brainwave. It offers to solve Britain’s alarming energy crisis, cut the ground under eco-anarchist protesters and sort out our stand-off with China over nuclear power. The payout to locals is already being denounced by opponents as a “bribe,” but it is a bribe that works. Most important, it gives a direct stake to those who live above those valuable gas fields — a bonanza to the impoverished North West and the whole British economy. –Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun, 8 August 2016
The Kremlin-backed television station RT has been accused of scaremongering about fracking in Britain to prevent the industry from developing. A viable shale gas industry in Europe would reduce the continent’s reliance on gas imported from Russia. Cuadrilla, which wants to extract shale gas in Lancashire, has complained to Ofcom that RT breached the broadcasting code by making false statements. RT regularly interviews anti-fracking campaigners and some of its presenters make frequent comments attacking the technology. Max Keiser, an American broadcaster who presents the Keiser Report with his wife Stacy Herbert, has said in broadcasts that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles” and fracking is giving British children cancer. –Ben Webster and Dominic Kennedy, The Times, 6 August 2016
Innovation is the source of virtually all prosperity. It is the reason the average person now lives longer, feeds better, travels farther, is better entertained and sees more children survive than even a monarch did four centuries ago. A glance back through history shows that innovation nearly always does more good than harm. So why is innovation so fiercely resisted? Opposition to “fracking” (the novelty is not hydraulic fracturing, which has been happening for decades in Dorset, but shale gas extraction; the opponents like using a word with f and k in it) is largely irrational. Like the claim that the Liverpool to Manchester railway would cause horses to abort their foals, it is based on myth, flying in the face of the evidence that shale gas can provide energy more cleanly than coal, more cheaply than nuclear and more reliably than wind. Yet the opponents, backed by the giant budgets and PR machines of the big environmental pressure groups, have poisoned shale gas’s reputation here already. This is nothing new. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 8 August 2016
Exploitation of new oil and gas reserves by fracking shale rock has transformed the US economy since it started just 11 years ago ‚Äì creating at least a million jobs and slashing electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The scale of this energy revolution is almost unimaginable. The Marcellus shale bed in Pennsylvania is thought by geologists to contain enough gas to power and heat every home in America for 50 to 100 years. Yet a few hundred feet beneath it lies another giant formation, the Utica, that contains enough gas for a further century. –Caroline Graham, Mail on Sunday, 7 August 2016