Fracking licences could make GCC millions

Erica Fellows (right) and her son Rufus Howell, two with Kitty Forcewell on Stroud High Street protesting against fracking in Stroud

Blue on the map outlines areas earmarked for consideration

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council could make millions if they support a controversial policy to allow shale gas schemes such as fracking in the county.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that shale gas exploration is part of his long-term economic plan and says local authorities that allow drilling would receive all the business rates collected from such schemes - rather than the usual 50 per cent.

Whitehall officials estimate that each council which agrees could make a profit of £1.7m extra a year for each site.

Opponents to fracking, such as leading European Green Party candidate and Stroud district councillor Molly Scott Cato, have likened the promise of tax incentives for councils to bribery.

“The government is now resorting to effectively bribing local residents in a desperate attempt to impose fracking on our communities.

“The Green Party is now the only major political party opposed to this greedy dash for gas.

“However much money is offered, the facts are clear, fracking won't bring down energy prices, produce many jobs or solve our energy crisis.

“Instead we need investment in clean renewable energy and energy-efficiency schemes so that we confront climate change and reduce people's energy bills.”

Gloucestershire has been identified as an area under consideration for fracking – a process which involves drilling deep underground and pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to create fractures in the rock which release the gas.

Alan Bently, acting strategic development manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said currently there are no planning applications for fracking in the county.

“If an application were to be received, we would validate it, publicise it, and carry out a statutory consultation. A report would then be presented to our Planning Committee where a decision would be made.”

Campaign group Frack Free Five Valleys recently formed to raise awareness of the threat of unconventional gas exploration, such as fracking, in the area surrounding Stroud.

According to Anna Dunne, one of the groups founding members, the Government has outlined roughly 60 percent of the UK to fracking companies – including the whole of the Cotswolds.

“Our aim is to try and stop any licences for fracking being sold in the Five Valleys,” she said.

Members of the group staged a peaceful protest in Stroud high street on Friday and have also organised a public meeting at Lansdown Hall at 7.30pm on Sunday, January 26 to dicuss the threat of fracking to the Cotswolds. Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said he was not in favour of fracking in inappropriate places.

“However we do have to find ways of getting our energy supply more affordably as at the end of the day there are a lot of people in Stroud living in fuel poverty and we have a responsibility to explore every possible avenue,” he said.

“The scheme offered by the Government is not a bribe but a reality of localism.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:50pm Wed 15 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

This industry is very heavily controlled, so for me the big question is how does our CC plan to use the money? If the answer isn’t to help people in the county weather the cost of living pressures then I’ll be first in the queue to denounce any application.

Having said that, in the reasonably near future we will be totally dependent on foreign gas; as such we would be prone to unacceptable external political/economic pressures. It’s all very well for the green party’s stance, but at the current level of technology renewable energy couldn’t even come close to bridging the power gap created by an external power denying a gas supply.
This industry is very heavily controlled, so for me the big question is how does our CC plan to use the money? If the answer isn’t to help people in the county weather the cost of living pressures then I’ll be first in the queue to denounce any application. Having said that, in the reasonably near future we will be totally dependent on foreign gas; as such we would be prone to unacceptable external political/economic pressures. It’s all very well for the green party’s stance, but at the current level of technology renewable energy couldn’t even come close to bridging the power gap created by an external power denying a gas supply. dimreepr
  • Score: 1

1:54pm Wed 22 Jan 14

BigBoy22 says...

If you did away with all the nimbys opposing green schemes such as wind turbines and solar panels we would have a far greater chance of increasing our renewables capability. I fail to understand how a wind turbine is deemed ugly but a road full of cars is not.
If you did away with all the nimbys opposing green schemes such as wind turbines and solar panels we would have a far greater chance of increasing our renewables capability. I fail to understand how a wind turbine is deemed ugly but a road full of cars is not. BigBoy22
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Wed 22 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

Whilst I do agree with the main thrust of your point, the following should be considered:

The renewable energy output for the UK in 2012 was 43.927 TWh of which biomass is 16,320 GWh, hydro is 5,280 GWh, wind is 5,274 GWh and a paltry 259 GWh from solar panels, all of which represents 6.18% of the total energy needs of the UK; figures courtesy of Wikipedia. From the Gov’s figures generation of electricity from gas in 2012 was 28% of the UK's total need; and of our total gas use 81% was imported. All this means if our imported gas was shut of we’d be in serious trouble even if we clad every available space in the UK (and I mean every surface and every scrap of ground not currently farmed) and increase wind turbines 1000% and had 10 times the stock of butane/propane etc we’d still have an unbridgeable energy gap, which would be seriously compounded by the sudden increase in electrical needs as all who can converts to electric cookers.

As you can see the blocking of such projects makes such a small difference as to be irrelevant and Fracking can at least provide a measureable difference.
Whilst I do agree with the main thrust of your point, the following should be considered: The renewable energy output for the UK in 2012 was 43.927 TWh of which biomass is 16,320 GWh, hydro is 5,280 GWh, wind is 5,274 GWh and a paltry 259 GWh from solar panels, all of which represents 6.18% of the total energy needs of the UK; figures courtesy of Wikipedia. From the Gov’s figures generation of electricity from gas in 2012 was 28% of the UK's total need; and of our total gas use 81% was imported. All this means if our imported gas was shut of we’d be in serious trouble even if we clad every available space in the UK (and I mean every surface and every scrap of ground not currently farmed) and increase wind turbines 1000% and had 10 times the stock of butane/propane etc we’d still have an unbridgeable energy gap, which would be seriously compounded by the sudden increase in electrical needs as all who can converts to electric cookers. As you can see the blocking of such projects makes such a small difference as to be irrelevant and Fracking can at least provide a measureable difference. dimreepr
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree