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Neil_F

Coach
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
842
Location
Islington
Finally the government has done something that might actually encourage growth. There is an abundance of shale gas in the North of England. It has the potential to dramtically reduce energy prices and also reduce carbon emissions since gas power generation emits a lot less carbon than coal.

In the US, shale extraction has seen the gas price fall by a third and total carbon emissions fall by 5%. It has caused the beginnings of a repatriation of heavy industry as companies invest to extract gas and then dramtic fall in energy prices makes industry more competitive.

Might the same happen in the UK? One problem is, as usual, the planning system. In the US landowners also own the mineral rights below their land whereas in the UK it is owned by the state. That reduces the incentive for local communities to support and endorse shale extraction, particularly when fracking is used.

I would suggest that there is a fourfold benefit possible here: a substantial investment programme and production would be a significant benefit to the UK economy, reduced energy prices would make heavy industry more competitive, carbon emissions would be reduced, and, if the local communities could keep the royalties, it could go a long way to closing the regional inequality gap.

There are obviously some environmental concerns, though the evidence suggests that fracking does not directly pollute either groundwater supplies or the atmosphere. The report on the Blackpool tremors suggests fracking was the cause at an already weak fault. However, the shallow depth means that there would never be a seismic event that caused any damage.

Is there anyone against shale gas extraction? I'm interested to hear an alternative view.
 
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