Doubts cast on claims of Lancashire fracking jobs boom

TOWER OF PEOPLE POWER: Protesters gathered outside the conferenceTOWER OF PEOPLE POWER: Protesters gathered outside the conference
TOWER OF PEOPLE POWER: Protesters gathered outside the conference
Anti-fracking protesters have hit back at claims of a multi-billion pound boom for Lancashire if shale gas gets the go-ahead.

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said of the UK Onshore Operators Group report compiled by Ernst and Young: “This report is a rehash of rose-tinted industry guesstimates about the economic potential of fracking in the UK.

“Paying accountants to tally up hypothetical jobs won’t change the fact that executives still have no idea whether they’ll actually be able to get gas out of the ground on a commercial scale in the UK.

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“Scratch beneath the hype and this report is actually a veiled plea for government and taxpayer support for an industry that has stalled before even taking off. It’s less about what fracking can do for your country, and more about what your country should do for fracking.

“The low-carbon energy sector is already giving work to tens of thousands of people across the UK, with the potential to create many more. This is where ministers should concentrate their efforts if they are serious about making Britain’s energy supply cleaner and safer.”

Friends of the Earth North West Campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “This report should be viewed with caution - US studies have shown that the fracking industry has exaggerated jobs claims in the past.

“Supporters of fracking have form on over-hyping shale gas. Claims that it will cut UK energy bills have been dismissed by most experts.

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“The North West has some of the best offshore wind and tidal resources in Europe and already over 10,000 are employed in the sector.

“The Government should abandon its reckless pursuit of fracking - which is dirty, unpopular and will not deliver for years - and make the North West the heart of a renewables revolution to power the country.”

She said the renewables sector already amounts to £1.2 billion and 10,000 jobs in the North West, with predictions that 400,000 jobs could be created by 2020.