Campaigners say cost of drilling will far outweigh any compensation offered

Anne Fielding, Pam Foster and Ian Roberts from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)
Anne Fielding, Pam Foster and Ian Roberts from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)

Campaigners battling to stop fracking on the Fylde coast say the idea of compensation for households is a non-starter – insisting the cost to communities of the controversial drilling is far higher than the sums likely to be offered.

It was revealed on Sunday that residents affected by fracking could be paid some of the proceeds of shale gas projects.

We don’t know the scope of the Government consultation yet. The only place where fracking has been given the go-ahead is Yorkshire

A shale wealth fund was unveiled in 2014 to set aside up to 10 per cent of the tax proceeds from fracking to benefit communities in the UK hosting wells.

Prime Minister Theresa May is now considering paying the money directly to individual households instead of councils and local trusts.

That could lead to a windfall of up to £10,000 for those residents affected by drilling.

But campaigner Ian Roberts, part of the Residents Against Fylde Fracking group, made clear the proposal would not sway those worried about the impact on the area in which they live.

He said: “We don’t know the scope of the Government consultation yet. The only place where fracking has been given the go-ahead is Yorkshire.

“Will it just be limited to those areas where firms have permission?

“In any case the sum being talked about is a drop in the ocean compared to the impact on people’s homes and lives.

“You look at the loss in value on some people’s properties, like those at Roseacre Wood, and you’re talking tens of thousands.”

Mr Roberts said the economic impact on Blackpool and the Fylde coast would be worth millions more.

He said: “Imagine driving down the M55 and seeing not just the Tower but drilling rigs and flares.

“It’s not what an area trying to attract visitors needs.”

Fracking, which involves pumping high pressure liquid into underground rocks to release gas trapped inside, has been hailed as one solution to the UK’s energy needs.

Mr Roberts is hoping the new PrimeMminister, having already promised to review the Hinkley Point nuclear power project, will now look again at fracking.

He said: “If there is a consultation we need to get the message across loud and clear that we do not want this at any price. We want to see real and significant investment in renewables which was put on the back burner by the previous Government.”

Energy firm Cuadrilla, which has set up exploratory drilling sites at a number of locations on the Fylde coast has backed the idea of returning proceeds of fracking to local communities

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “The Shale Gas Wealth Fund is a great initiative from this Government to ensure that the communities hosting shale gas developments receive a significant share of the financial benefits of those developments.

“Importantly a public consultation will give control to local communities to say exactly where they would like this money to go. It will add to the exploration stage community benefits funding, share of production revenue and of course spending on local goods and services that Cuadrilla will also be putting directly back into Lancashire.”