Councils that give the green-light to ‘fracking’ projects will be allowed to keep millions of pounds more in tax revenue, David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister said local authorities in England would receive 100 per cent of the business rates collected from shale gas schemes - rather than the usual 50 per cent.
The move is part of an “all out” drive to exploit the controversial pressure mining technique. The Government believes it could generate billions of pounds for the economy, support 74,000 jobs, and lower energy costs.
Total is due to confirm on Monday morning that it is investing in fracking exploration in the UK, by taking a share in a licence in the Midlands currently operated by a US firm.
Whitehall officials said the business rates commitment would mean councils hanging on to up to £1.7 million extra a year from each fracking site.
But anti-fracking campaigners questioned the move. Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Jane Thomas said: “It’s ironic that a French-owned company is seeking to drill the UK for shale gas when it’s banned from fracking in France due to environmental concerns.”
Energy firm Cuadrilla has also been testing for shale gas at a number of sites in Lancashire.
Today, it announced it would be working with the Community Foundation for Lancashire to pay £100,000 into a community fund for each area with a drilling well.