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Lancashire MPs Join Forces To Seek Fracking Sweeteners

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Elizabeth Rigby and Jim Pickard, Financial Times

Conservative and Labour MPs in Lancashire are joining forces to demand more money for their constituents in return for “fracking rights” after concluding that the current sweeteners being offered are not good enough.

The MPs want more than the current offer of £100,000 of community benefits per well drilled and the proposed 1 per cent share of revenues generated when production starts.

“This is just practical politics,” said Eric Ollerenshaw, Conservative MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood. “We are trying to get the best deal we can for our constituents from whatever political side we are on.

“We don’t want the crumbs off the table. We want to make sure we get something out of this for the long-term for Lancashire as a whole.”

In July, an official survey revealed there was more than twice as much shale gas in the northwest of England than there was previously thought to be in the entire country. This prompted Mr Ollerenshaw and Lindsay Hoyle, deputy speaker and Labour MP for Chorley, to convene a cross-party meeting to discuss tactics.

The MPs have now agreed to press jointly for a greater return for allowing fracking, the technique used to unlock reserves of shale gas underground, in their county, and are now in discussions with local councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships to draw up an action plan for the autumn.

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