Spending Review: Shale Wealth Fund

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Chancellor Osborne: “We’re also supporting the creation of the shale gas industry by ensuring that communities benefit from a Shale Wealth Fund, which could be worth up to £1bn.”

Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said in response: “The commitment to the Shale Wealth Fund provides some guidance as to where additional UK gas is expected to come from, supporting the development of more gas power plants, however without local authority and community buy in environmentally as well as economically to regional shale gas production, this is unlikely to help the UK meet the demand for electricity following the closure of coal fired power stations.”

Chris Lewis, partner in EY’s energy team, commented: “The announcement to create a Shale Wealth Fund (SWF) to support the creation of a shale gas industry should accelerate investment in this sector. One of the biggest challenges the sector faces right now is funding projects as a result of drawn out planning applications and the low current gas price.  This long planning is making investors reluctant to hand over cash as under the current system projects are uneconomical.

“The creation of a SWF helps garner community engagement because the communities will directly benefit from the projects that are happening in their own back yard. It will also speed up and streamline the planning process by connecting the investors with the local communities and planning decision makers.”

Earlier this month Greenpeace campaigner, Hannah Martin commented: “The government’s unwavering support for fracking doesn’t make economic or environmental sense. Fracking pollution will mean flares, drilling rigs, and heavy lorries polluting the air, spilling over and scarring our most scenic and precious landscapes.  Fracking won’t cut bills for people. it won’t bring many new jobs for local residents. But it will likely knock down the value of families’ homes, damage tourism and contribute to climate change.”