Greenpeace campaigners have hit out after reports suggested Britain’s shale gas industry will create far fewer jobs than the 74,000 cited by prime minister David Cameron.
Mr Cameron said in August that he expected fracking to lead to the creation of large numbers of jobs in a North Sea oil-type boom.
But national newspapers have reported that an alternative figure of about a third of the number of jobs has been put forward by AMEC, the engineering consultancy that is advising Decc, the energy department.
AMEC are said to have predicted at a private meeting at the Decc offices in Whitehall that 15,900 to 24,300 full-time equivalent jobs – direct and indirect – would be created at “peak construction” by the shale gas industry.
The reports come just days after energy firm Cuadrilla commissioned a poll in the North West which showed 57 per cent of those who responded supported shale gas exploration.
Greenpeace energy campaigner Lawrence Carter said: “Cuadrilla’s figure of 74,000 UK jobs was cooked up to convince the people of Lancashire that fracking is worth the pain.
“So it is good to see that independent analysts completely disagree with this wild assessment.”