Cameron’s fracking drive causes concern in county

Green campaigners and concerned homeowners have slammed financial incentives for councils that permit fracking as “bribery”.

Tuesday, 14th January 2014, 1:45 pm
NDET 16-10-12 RKH 2 Calow residents protest at the planned gas drilling on Dark Lane.

David Cameron’s declaration that he is going “all out for shale” as part of his long-term economic plan has sparked worry over planning authorities remaining impartial.

Council’s stand to gain 100 per cent of business rates collected from a fracking scheme – estimated at £1.7m a year per site. Up to £10m more could be claimed by councils from shale exploration firms, who are to pay out £100,000 when a test well is fracked and one per cent of any revenues.

Janet Miller, north Derbyshire’s representative for Greenpeace called the plans “blatant bribery” and said the government should be concentrating on looking for renewable energy sources.

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Katharina Boettge, from the East Midlands Green Party, added: “If the Government has won the argument over fracking it would not have to offer these bribes, but it has not and thousands of people in affected areas remain very worried about the many unknown impacts of fracking on their lives and property.”

In Calow, residents from the group Calow Against Gas Extraction have raised concerns over proposals to drill for methane gas on land off Dark Lane, although developers Seven Star Natural Gas Ltd have said they have no plans for fracking on the site.

Margi Senior from the group, said: “The local council is also the local planning authority – they cannot be impartial if there is a cash incentive to allow the application to drill.

“I know they are saying no fracking now, but what about ten years down the line?”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “There are currently no applications for fracking anywhere in the county. If we do get an application it would be subject to the usual rigorous planning application process.”