‘Cautious’ acceptance of fracking

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A Town Hall group has agreed its stance on the controversial “fracking” process for the city.

Preston Council’s environmental scrutiny panel agreed an amended study on shale gas extraction at their meeting this week.

The report will now be put to the council’s cabinet members, who are recommended to “cautiously accept” the industry and not to declare Preston a “frack-free city”.

Coun Nicholas Pomfret, chairman of the panel, said: “We’ve got to still keep this under the microscope - this could be a 10 year thing before it gets up and running.”

Coun Lona Smith added: “We’ve got to be seen as pro active as a city, but proceed with caution.”

The council’s environment director Mick Lovatt said: “I think what we’ve done here is a technical review of an emerging industry.

“What we haven’t done is examine the emotive issue of climate change, which is a completely different subject of fossil fuels versus green energy.

“What we have said here is that it could be a transitional fuel to a greener future, but it is still a carbon-based fuel and isn’t helping the planet in the long term.

“But we don’t expect this to be a long term solution to our energy needs.”

Energy minister Michael Fallon will make a speech on shale gas in Blackpool on Thursday.

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