The government's high-profile push to accelerate the development of fracking projects in the UK was dealt a major blow yesterday, as it emerged that one of the Conservative-run councils in the Chancellor's Cheshire constituency has declared it will remain "fracking-free".
Chancellor George Osborne has emerged as one of the government's leading cheerleaders for fracking development, having approved major tax breaks for the industry and played a key role in pushing through the package of community incentives announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week.
However, the Telegraph reported yesterday that Cheshire East Council has declared it wants to remain "fracking-free", while the leader of the neighbouring Cheshire West and Chester council, "wouldn't be minded to support" fracking in the area.
He added the region was better suited to geothermal energy, announcing that "our main focus as a council is on the exciting potential for geothermal technology in Crewe". "We believe this is a game-changer for the borough, providing renewable heat and energy on a significant scale and we are in talks with the government to help us develop the site,"
The government said the incentive package could be worth up to £1.7m for a typical site.
However, a number of councils were quick to dismiss the offer as "derisory", arguing that communities needed more compensation for the disruption they would face.
Cllr Jones of Cheshire West and Chester is one of five north-west council leaders who, along with seven MPs, wrote to the Prime Minister this week warning that “without some significant retention of revenues… we would find it difficult to support further development” of shale gas.
So it's OK - ''If you pay enough''. Perhaps I am old fashioned but that does not sit over well with me.