Monday’s announcement from the government of ‘bribes’ to be offered to local councils and communities that accept the presence of fracking for shale gas can be seen as a sign of two things.
The first is desperation – the resistance to the government’s enthusiasm to fracking has been strong and determined. From the camp at Balcombe in leafy Sussex, to the site at Barton Moss on the edge of Manchester airport, where 500 people gathered yesterday to show their opposition to the drilling there, across the country, surveys show that Britons understand that fracking is something they don’t want in their back yard, in their region, or in their country.
The second aspect of the government’s bribe is that they demonstrate fracking for shale gas is something you really wouldn’t want to have near you. Just like you offer a child a sweet if they’ll swallow their nasty-tasting medicine, the government’s very offer demonstrates the unattractiveness of fracking for shale gas for local communities.
Further telling news that emerged this week was the announcement that French multinational Total is to invest in fracking here. Banned for conducting the procedure in its own country, which has instituted a moratorium on fracking, as Germany plans to do and Bulgaria has long done, it’s planning to come here.
Not surprising really, when Prime Minister David Cameron is boasting that he’s offering the most generous tax regime in Europe – indeed overall more generous than that offered by the United States. So Mr Cameron is seeking to enrich big multinational fossil fuel exploiters, while giving scant attention to the alternatives. Continue reading