The Conservative party has vowed to support the shale gas and fracking industry in the UK, especially in the north of England in the wake of the party’s election victory last Friday, despite public and political opposition as the party tries to improve the UK energy industry.
The Conservatives managed to secure an unexpected overall majority in the general election last week which will allow the party to fully implement its manifesto, which has pledged support to the shale industry to try and boost falling UK production and lower foreign energy dependency.
“We will continue to support the safe development of shale gas, and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages,” said the Conservatives in their 2015 manifesto. “We will create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North.”
The overall majority won by the Conservatives is significant to the shale gas industry. The party has pledged support in the past but in the former coalition government, members of the Liberal Democrats such as the then UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey were cautious about fracking.
In March, Davey said there was no evidence that fracking in the UK would reduce prices or transform the economy and described himself as a “cautious guy” when it came to fracking, placing himself as neither for or against the idea but recognising the huge importance of gas for energy in the future.
Since the break up of the coalition, Davey has been replaced by Conservative politician Amber Rudd as the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary.
Energy was not a big topic discussed in the general election, but the Conservatives outlined plans to lower the UK’s dependency on foreign energy and to save production from the North Sea. Alongside this, the Conservatives look to build their “northern powerhouse” through the shale potential in the region.