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​‘Bribing’ communities to frack is costing UK govt thousands of votes

Published time: May 14, 2014 23:48
Edited time: June 27, 2014 08:07
Demonstrators hold banners during an anti-fracking protest in central London March 19, 2014. (Reuters / Neil Hall)

Demonstrators hold banners during an anti-fracking protest in central London March 19, 2014. (Reuters / Neil Hall)

The UK government's push for fracking is costing it thousands of conservative votes, former energy secretary Lord Howell of Guildford said on Wednesday. He added that attempts to “bribe and cajole” rural communities into taking part is a “complete waste.”

Trying to start in Southern England, and in the Home Counties, or in rural and countryside areas anywhere, north or south, is a guarantee of longer delays, higher costs and increased hostility,” the Conservative politician wrote in an article for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Last year, Howell’s comments sparked controversy when he suggested that fracking should be confined to the “desolate and uninhabited” areas of the northeast.

He reiterated his views on Wednesday, saying that fracking is best kept in places “where the industrial revolution has left the worst historical scars.”

Every time ministers open their mouths to claim that fracking must start everywhere around Britain, and not just in carefully selected and remote (derelict) areas, they lose thousands of Tory votes,” he added.

In order to encourage communities to accept the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique, areas have been offered incentives. Some have been offered £100,000 (US$168,100) for every well that is fracked, and a one percent share in any revenues from fracking operations.

The practice has caused a great deal of controversy, both in the UK and the US, on account of concerns over its environmental impact.

The fracking process consists of blasting fissures in rocks thousands of meters under the earth with water and sand to release trapped deposits of oil and gas. Injection wells which are used to dispose of highly toxic fracking wastewater have contributed to heightened earthquake activity across the nation.

The wastewater, riddled with hazardous and often undisclosed chemicals and contaminants, has been linked to a host of human and environmental health concerns.

Comments (6)


KingKarbon 15.05.2014 19:49

Odd how greens dont get even the most basic ideas of supply and demand. If your windmills and solar cells provide 1GW of power at 7am in January, and demand is 60GW then the lights will go out if there is not sufficient flexible conventional generating capacity, simples. If I double the amount of bread sold on the market, then the clearing price would be lower than if it were scarce. The world realy does work that way. Perhaps green tax and bureacratic requirements will raise the price of fracced gas so that the customers (the poor especially) suffer, but increased supply will reduce prices. Economics 101.


Anna Charles 15.05.2014 12:16

It must be expensive to bribe people to accept fracking when on an innate, intuitive level they know it is harmful for them, their kids, their communities and their planet.


Catmandu 15.05.2014 09:22

KingKarbon 15.05.2014 07:19

. North American fracced gas is a fraction of the cost of UK gas. While additives to the fracking fluid might be classified as toxic, the amount in the overall fluid are such that “the fracturing fluid itself” is not toxic (required by EA regulation). Waste fluid must be disposed of in EA licensed facilities.


You are very niave if you think that fracked gas in the UK would be any cheaper than gas is at the moment. If the fracking fluid is safe why are the US companies paying millions in compensation for damage to health?

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