Skip to content

As Pressure Mounts, Chris Huhne Signals Approval Of Shale Exploration

‘Shale discovery is a very important development and all our policy framework is designed to make sure that we can provide affordable, clean electricity at the cheapest possible price to British consumers in the long run.’

Controversial proposals to take gas from rocks beneath Banks could have a major impact in lowering fuel prices in the UK.

Energy firm Cuadrilla is currently conducting exploratory drilling work at a site off Marsh Road as well as at another site in Blackpool.

The company announced last month that there was enough gas in the ground to provide for Britain’s fuel needs for many years.

During a House of Commons energy debate last week, Southport MP John Pugh told energy secretary Chris Huhne: [“The Secretary of State may be aware that north of my constituency a find of 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas has been announced.] That will make an enormous difference one way or another if it is genuine. Would he like to comment on that and the difference it might make to prices in future?”

Mr Huhne said: “If it transpires that the early indications we have received from Cuadrilla about the size of the find under Lancashire are correct, there will clearly be an impact on gas prices within the UK. We have already seen that gas prices in the United States are half of those in the UK and the rest of Europe and are even lower than the prices for gas in the Far East. This is a very important development and all our policy framework is designed to make sure that we can provide affordable, clean electricity at the cheapest possible price to British consumers in the long run. If that means cheap gas, then obviously the technological imperative is to go forward with carbon capture and storage so that we can use that gas in an environmentally friendly manner.”

Campaigners protesting against the drilling claim the fracking process to extract the gas could contaminate water supplies. Cuadrilla has told the Visiter previously that it takes health and safety concerns very seriously.

A recent [parliamentary] inquiry came out in favour of continuing with exploration.

Formby Times, 25 October 2011