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Labour Council Bitterly Opposed To Fracking Demands Share Of £1 Billion Shale Tax Profits

Steve Hawkes, The Sun

Lancashire County Council has been accused of rank hypocrisy after telling the Treasury it wants to cash in

A Labour-led council bitterly opposed to fracking is demanding its share of a £1 billion tax pot from Britain’s shale gas revolution.

Lancashire County Council has been accused of rank hypocrisy after telling the Treasury it wants to cash in on fracking despite rejecting planning bids for new wells.

In a letter seen by the Sun, it backs a “Shale Wealth Fund” the Government wants to create in the coming years from tax receipts from fracking companies.

And it is demanding local councillors decide how the money is spent in the region to create a “lasting positive legacy”.

The council says: “Notwithstanding (our) previous position on the development of the shale gas industry… (we) believe that it is appropriate that the areas where shale gas developments come forward should benefit from these developments.”

The pro-fracking GMB union said the submission was “beyond parody”.

One industry source told the Sun: “It’s like a council fighting Heathrow expansion tooth and nail then saying ‘If it happens can we have some direct flights to the Maldives please?’”

Lancashire last year threw out a bid from Cuadrilla to frack in the county in a verdict lauded by green campaigners. Councillors said the proposal would industrialise the countryside and “adversely affect the landscape”.

The decision was overturned by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid earlier this month – who said giving green light to new wells was in the national interest.

Cuadrilla chief Francis Egan said last night: “I very much welcome the council’s response in recognising the benefit shale gas has to bring to Lancashire as a ‘lasting positive legacy’.

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