Shale gas not answer to all our problems

Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian.  Cuadrilla Resources' fracking plant near Preston.
Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian. Cuadrilla Resources' fracking plant near Preston.

Far from being a solution to the North-West’s energy and employment needs, as Paul Nuttal MEP claims (Burnley Express letters), shale gas is a dangerous distraction from the urgent need to develop clean energy and slash energy waste, which would create thousands of long-term jobs for Lancashire.

The economic benefits of shale gas have been overhyped – finance experts, Government and even the frackers themselves admit fracking is highly unlikely to lower fuel bills.

Meanwhile, a report for the Department of Energy claims shale gas drilling will create just a third of the jobs David Cameron has claimed. It warns that most jobs would be short-term and are unlikely to go to local people.

Instead of falling for the shale gas hype, politicians should embrace clean energy solutions to boost Lancashire’s manufacturing and engineering sectors. Making our homes more energy efficient would help tackle fuel poverty and could create 100,000 jobs in the UK, while studies show a growing renewables industry could support 400,000 jobs by 2020.

Helen Rimmer

North-West Campaigner Friends of the Earth