Coalition Beckons ‘Fracking Revolution’

Slowly but surely, the Coalition’s policy of exploiting the large shale gas fields thought to exist under more than half of the landmass of Great Britain is starting to be realised. There are dozens of test wells being drilled around the country as billions in (largely foriegn) investment pours into the most toxic energy source inflicted on the world by the fossil fuel industry. Only last week, French energy giant Total poured several billion pounds into the British fracking industry, despite the fact that it cannot do the same in its home country because fracking is banned in France due to… environmental concerns.

But this bid to pour methane and corrosive chemicals into the environment in a bid for cheap gas is, apparently, not going ahead quickly enough. That’s why the Government is encouraging local councils to pass fracking applications with the most effective incentive of all: cash. Under the change proposed, councils can retain 100% of the Business Rates (a tax levied on businesses based on the value of the property they occupy) on fracking businesses within their jurisdiction. Usually, the central government takes half of what is raised, so it promises to be a great cash boost.

The move will all but demolish any debate about fracking in local government. To offer such a large revenue stream when many councils project a 50% reduction to their spending power between 2010 and 2020, doesn’t give councils a choice. If a person who was dying of thirst and stranded in the middle of a desert was to encounter the Devil, they will sell their soul for a bottle of water sooner or later. They do not have a real alternative.

Similarly, when we are promised cheap energy as energy bills rise and rise and rise, no government will fail to exploit the opportunity.

Unless voters decide en masse that we need to leave behind a clean and safe environment for future generations.

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4 thoughts on “Coalition Beckons ‘Fracking Revolution’

  1. Unless we find that next great energy source that proves to be inexpensive and clean I’m afraid your predictions are correct. Clean water is my main concern. If we contaminate our fresh water, then extinction will be our fate.

  2. I have been reading much about fracking today to try and get my head round it. It seems as if the government has already made up its mind about this and the “sweetener” to the local authorities is blatant bribery to smooth the way. I would like to have seen some research on the effects of fracking from the government before jumping straight ahead with the scheme. My gut feeling from what I’m reading is that we just don’t know enough about the effects. It also diverts attention from renewables yet again.

    • It is uncomfortable when there are two sets of well qualified authorities on the matter saying directly contradictory things about the safety of fracking. There should be a consensus as to the safety of a practice before it is pursued.

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