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Residents near fracking sites could get share of proceeds

Words: Laura Edgar
Planning fees / Shutterstock_108503696

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Shale Wealth Fund proposals should include the option to give more of the proceeds to local residents.

Plans for the fund were outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review in November last year and included plans to set aside up to 10 per cent of the tax proceeds from fracking to benefit communities in the UK that have wells nearby.

The consultation starts this week.

The government said the proposals now include options to give more of the proceeds from the fund directly to residents. Previous proposals only provided money for community trusts or local councils.

Communities could receive up to 10 per cent of tax revenues derived from shale exploration to spend on priorities such as local infrastructure and skills training, said the government.

Speaking ahead of the consultation launch, May said the government she leads would “always be driven by the interests of the many – ordinary families for whom life is harder than many people in politics realise”.

“This announcement is an example of putting those principles into action. It’s about making sure people personally benefit from economic decisions that are taken – not just councils – and putting them back in control over their lives.

“We’ll be looking at applying this approach to other government programmes in the future too, as we press on with the work of building a country that works for everyone.”

An example of where the principle could be extended is the Community Infrastructure Levy, says the government.

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: "Communities across the UK have made it clear that they don't want fracking.

"A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times last year showed that, even where communities were offered £1 million, they still remained opposed to fracking taking place near them.

"Local people won't suddenly be bribed into accepting this unpopular practice, which poses risks to people and the environment."

The Shale Wealth Fund consultation can be found here. 

Image credit | Shutterstock