Lifeline for millions in Red Wall as fracking return to provide ‘cheap or free gas’

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Households in the UK are currently feeling the worst impacts of a fossil fuel energy crisis, as the price cap on energy bills is set to reach nearly £3,000 a year. This increase in the price cap, combined with the previous increase by 54 percent to £1,971 in April has put millions of households in a state of fuel poverty, where energy bills constitute a significant portion of their income. 

As experts warned that the most vulnerable households in the UK would be most affected by this energy crisis, some have called on the UK to return to fracking, in order to boost the country’s supply of gas and hopefully bring down energy bills. 

The Government decided to ban the practice of extracting fossil fuels from shale rock in 2019, after campaigners piled on the pressure regarding environmental concerns, and fears of Earth tremor following a report by the Oil and Gas Authority.

However, Lord Peter Lilley, Vice Chairman of the House of Lords, believed that if done responsibly, and with the consent of the local community, fracking to be a major boon for communities suffering from eye-watering energy bills. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Fracking would benefit those living near to wells who voted to allow fracking in return for cheap or free gas. 

“It would also provide a feed source for industries, like petrochemicals hence the interest of INEOS in developing this resource.”

Lord Lilley added that fracking sites, like onshore wind farms, should be offered to local communities in exchange for lucrative deals on the energy extracted or generated by the companies involved. 

For example, Octopus Energy, a British company focused on renewable energy generation, launched a scheme known as the “Fan Club” tariff, which offered communities the opportunity to slash energy bills by up to 50 percent if they have a wind farm producing electricity nearby.

Environmentalists have long opposed fracking because aside from releasing greenhouse gases that contributing to the climate crisis, shale gas extraction can also cause earth tremors as fluid is injected into the earth at high pressure.

Greenpeace UK said: “Not only is fracking bad for our climate, it risks causing air, water and sound pollution.

“It uses toxic chemicals where regulation may not be adequate.

“An accident could mean that these chemicals leak into water supplies or cause pollution above ground. In fact, this has happened many times in the US.”

Lord Lilley also dismissed environmentalists’ “scaremongering” concerns about the impacts of fracking, saying: “Over one million wells have been drilled with hydraulic fracking in the US and no one has been killed, no buildings destroyed by these micro tremors (which the University of Liverpool says are equivalent of the impact of dropping a heavy book from shoulder height) and no-one has been poisoned by contaminated aquifers.   

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“Once people have a potential financial interest in cheaper gas they will look into these dishonest environmentalist claims and find them to be bogus.”

The Government is currently mulling over plans to lift the ban on fracking, are said to make an announcement on their decision soon.

Most recently, Cuadrilla, which was told to seal up its shale gas wells in Lancashire by June 2022, was later told by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) that it had another year to assess options for the Preston New Road and Elswick sites in Lancashire. 

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