David Cameron has said the UK “cannot afford to miss out on shale gas”, in an article written for the Telegraph on Sunday.
The prime minister said he backs the controversial method of extracting shale gas from the ground known as fracking, which is at the centre of much debate in the UK.
One the one hand, those against fracking are concerned about Earth tremors, earthquakes, water pollution and environmental safety, which have led to mass protests at a site in Balcombe, Sussex, where fracking firm Cuadrilla has begun “exploratory drilling”.
On the other, politicians are giving the green light for fracking, despite warnings from academics and professionals of its side effects. In his Telegraph article, Cameron writes, “If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive. Without it, we could lose ground in the tough global race.”
He added that it has the potential to create 74,000 jobs in the UK.
On a recent visit to a factory in Lancashire, Cameron assured workers that measures would be in place to protect the environment, saying, “There will be very clear environmental procedures and certificates you will have to get before you can frack.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson recently said that London must “leave no stone unfracked [in order to] keep the lights on”. Meanwhile France’s president François Hollande announced that he would not allow fracking under his leadership, rejecting calls for government backing on the grounds of environmental concerns.
Reacting to Cameron’s article, a spokesperson for Greenpeace said, “Experts from Ofgem to Deutsche Bank to drilling company Cuadrilla itself agree UK shale will not bring down bills, because unlike the US, the UK is part of a huge European gas market. The government must come clean about where it’s getting its advice from, and the role shale gas lobbyists are playing in it.”