Cameron open to fracking discussion

Protesters against the visit of prime minister David Cameron to the Youth Zone
Protesters against the visit of prime minister David Cameron to the Youth Zone
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THE Prime Minister has told those concerned about fracking that his government is willing to listen before any decisions are made.

Speaking during his visit to Wigan Youth Zone, David Cameron said he was aware of the environmental problems and other fears related to the method.

Fracking is a technique used to extract gas by drilling into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock. It brings a number of environmental concerns as well as the increased risk of causing small earth tremors.

Wigan borough is one place which could see fracking with the number of pits in the town.

The Prime Minister was greeted by a number of protestors, many of whom held banners voicing their discontent over fracking.

Mr Cameron welcomed any opposition though and said he was open to debate.

“I saw some signs about fracking and one or two other things,” he said.

“We wouldn’t be a healthy democracy if people didn’t protest and sometimes disagree with the Prime Minister.

“Let’s have a debate and let’s have an argument about fracking, I think it’s a good idea to try and have less expensive energy bills so that we can have more businesses and industries getting established here in Britain, we can have more jobs in Britain and we can have lower energy bills.

“If people want to take on that argument, please let’s have that argument and let’s be clear, it’s not a choice between unconventional gas or renewables, we ought to be trying to have both.”

Mr Cameron shied away from putting his whole weight behind fracking. He did though explain the benefits it could bring.

“The reason for supporting shale gas is that because we have the opportunity to have lower energy costs and that isn’t just lower energy costs for businesses, it could be lower energy costs for households,” he added.

“People right across our country are feeling the squeeze because lots of people haven’t had a pay rise but at the same time they have seen their bills go up.

“So if there is an opportunity to have cheaper, more plentiful supplies of gas then we really ought to be trying to take it.

“Of course, no-one wants to go ahead with fracking if there are environmental dangers or other dangers.

“Everything we do in this country is carefully and properly regulated and fracking will be as well. But I think there is a double benefit of having plentiful supplies of less expensive gas that will be good for our energy bills but also local communities will be able to benefit with £100,000 when the well is first dug and it could be up to £1m with one per cent of the revenues shared.

“I’m very keen the government gets this right and makes sure that money really goes to local communities and people really see the benefit.

“The other day, I opened the biggest offshore wind farm anywhere in the world, a big investment into Britain, but we shouldn’t miss out on the other sources of energy, including unconventional gas.”

It was confirmed this week that no planning requests are pending, nor have any discussions taken place, with regards to fracking in the borough yet.