Fast Track Frack Licences November 12 2014

Tim Shipman: The Sunday Times – 27/7/14

The new Tory Energy Minister, Matthew Hancock, has revealed that fracking for shale gas is to be fast-tracked because it will give Britain greater energy security and protect it from Russian aggression.   He went on to say that the Government would make it ‘much quicker’ for companies to get approval to drill for shale gas.

At present firms that want to frack have to wait about six months for permission through a 15-stage process. Hancock hopes to slash that in half.

He said “Shale gas has the opportunity to increase our energy security, potentially to cut costs and also to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the amount of coal that we burn. Those three are the holy grail for energy policy. With what we’ve seen in Russia over recent weeks [the shooting-down of flight MH17], the importance of an indigenous energy supply can’t be overestimated.

He went on to say “Payments to villages and towns of £100,000 a well [described by some as bribes] have to come from the industry rather than the government”.

Hancock, a keen countryman, campaigned against windfarms in his West Suffolk constituency, saying “Climate change is an important consideration but so is local beauty… putting up windfarms in beautiful landscapes against the strong opposition of local people is not right”.