Anger as ‘redacted’ fracking report is finally released

The Anti-Fracking protest at County Hall, Preston

The Anti-Fracking protest at County Hall, Preston

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Activists have reacted angrily to the release of a long-awaited Government report into the effects of fracking on the rural economy and house prices.

The DEFRA report says the evidence from other countries was “not conclusive” but house prices could fall by up to seven per cent in the immediate area of a fracking operation.

The previously “redacted” report has emerged days after Lancashire county councillors threw out Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at two Lancashire sites.

Lancashire-based Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “No wonder Defra sat on this explosive report until after the Lancashire decisions – it shows that people living close to rural fracking sites can expect to see the value of their homes fall by up to seven per cent and their insurance costs rise.

“Businesses could also suffer as it reveals that fracking threatens agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation businesses through increased industrialisation of previously tranquil and pristine rural areas.

“Instead of hiding information and trying to force through fracking, the UK Government should follow the lead of Wales and Scotland and put fracking on hold.”

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy said: “This information does not stop this industry from going ahead in the UK as what we are looking at will have a completely different set of ground rules.

“Fracking in this country would be heavily and robustly regulated and managed in a safe and responsible manner to ensure there was minimal impact on the environment and public health.”