For a country as reliant upon imported energy as Britain, the discovery of substantial deposits of shale gas might seem a godsend. In America, the exploitation of shale has been transformative, with the country set to become self-sufficient in energy by 2020.
Here, by contrast, nothing much has happened beyond the drilling of a number of test wells, every one greeted by objections from green campaigners and local residents.
The Government recognises the potential and has offered favourable tax treatment to shale gas producers and a fast-track planning procedure to get projects under way. But the biggest barrier to a commercial fracking programme remains public opposition. In order to counter this, wealth funds from the proceeds of fracking were proposed, to pay for new community amenities in affected areas.
Here is a PDF of the Telegraph’s Editorial.
The UK economy would be a lot stronger in future decades if we had cheaper energy. This would benefit just about every household in the country. Yes, the extraction process is messy but fracking is considerably safer, cleaner and more efficient than ten years ago. The government is right to reward households in the regions subject to fracking as compensation for any inconvenience.
What we do not need is the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, arguably the biggest ‘white elephant’ energy project ever proposed. It would sentence the UK economy to at least 35 years of higher energy prices at a time when many other countries will be benefitting from a variety of cheaper and more efficient energy policies, thanks to the accelerating rate of technological innovation. The UK should purchase at least one smaller and considerably more efficient nuclear power stations from South Korea, and then redevelop its own nuclear technology. The combination of new nuclear, fracking and renewable technologies led by solar energy would secure the UK’s energy competitiveness for the longer term.Back to top