Tax incentives for councils that approve 'fracking' projects

St Helens Star: Tax incentives for councils that approve 'fracking' projects Tax incentives for councils that approve 'fracking' projects

Councils that give the green-light to 'fracking' projects will be allowed to keep millions of pounds more in tax revenue, David Cameron has announced.

The Prime Minister said local authorities in England would receive 100% of the business rates collected from shale gas schemes - rather than the usual 50%.

The move is part of an "all out" drive to exploit the controversial pressure mining technique. The Government believes it could generate billions of pounds for the economy, support 74,000 jobs, and lower energy costs.

Total is due to confirm this morning that it is investing in fracking exploration in the UK, by taking a share in a licence in the Midlands currently operated by a US firm.

Whitehall officials said the business rates commitment would mean councils hanging on to up to £1.7 million extra a year from each fracking site.

They stressed that the mining industry had already pledged to give local communities £100,000 for each test drilling - and a further 1% of the revenues if shale gas is discovered.

Mr Cameron said: "A key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future is to back businesses with better infrastructure.

"That's why we're going all out for shale. It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country".

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, business minister Michael Fallon said Britain had to "embrace the extraordinary opportunities offered by shale gas" for the sake of generations to come.

"In the Seventies, North Sea oil helped salvage our economy from crippling stagnation," he wrote.

"We have a similar chance to create tens of thousands of jobs and energy security.

"A mile and more beneath us lies deposits of gas-bearing shale rock with the potential to guarantee energy supplies in an increasingly uncertain and competitive world.

"If our boldness is matched by others in Europe, it could also drive down the cost of power for hard-working families and businesses."

But environmentalists accused ministers of trying to "bribe" local authorities. Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace said: "This is a naked attempt by the government to bribe hard pressed councils into accepting fracking in their area.

"Cameron is effectively telling councils to ignore the risks and threat of large-scale industrialisation in exchange for cold hard cash.

"But the proposal reveals just how worried the government is about planning applications being turned down.

"Having had their claims that fracking will bring down energy bills and create jobs thoroughly discredited, the government is now resorting to straight up bribery to sell their deeply unpopular fracking policy."

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman said: "Councils have been clear that the people and communities whose areas host fracking sites must feel the benefit.

"Today's announcement from the Prime Minister is a step in the right direction, which will mean that business rates paid by shale gas firms will help councils to maintain and improve local services for residents."

He went on: "While it is encouraging that government is listening, local areas will be keen to hear more details on how the community benefits package will be strengthened to fairly renumerate those who will be most affected.

"Given the significant tax breaks being proposed to drive forward the development of shale gas and the impact drilling will have on local communities, these areas should not be short-changed by fracking schemes. One per cent of gross revenues distributed locally is not good enough; returns should be more in line with payments across the rest of the world and be set at 10 per cent.

"The community benefits of fracking should be enshrined in law, so companies cannot withdraw them to the detriment of local people.

"The LGA is encouraging the development of models which will ensure cash is used to support local priorities and which will treat money from fracking separately from ordinary tax revenue."

Shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said: "Gas will remain an important part of our energy mix in the future, and if shale gas can replace our rapidly depleting North Sea reserves it could help improve our energy security.

"It is right that any communities that host nationally significant energy infrastructure are able to share in its rewards.

"But the Government must get its priorities right. Only by fully addressing legitimate environmental and safety concerns about fracking with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring, will people have confidence that the exploration and possible extraction of shale gas is a safe and reliable source that can contribute to the UK's energy mix."

Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Jane Thomas said: "It's ironic that a French-owned company is seeking to drill the UK for shale gas when it's banned from fracking in France due to environmental concerns.

"Fracking is not the solution to our energy problems - experts say it won't lead to cheaper energy bills and the Government admits shale gas and coal bed methane development could have significant impacts on local people and the environment.

"The best way to build an energy system that doesn't cost the earth is to invest in a comprehensive energy efficiency programme and develop the UK's huge renewable power potential."

Energy Minister Michael Fallon insisted that the incentive on offer was the same as for other renewable technologies such as wind farms and solar energy.

"It is only right, when there is local growth and local jobs, that the councils are able to retain more of the business rates in order to help improve or maintain local services," he told BBC Breakfast.

"I think that is only fair that local people should see some of the direct benefit."

He went on: "I hope councils will look at the exploration of shale in a responsible way.

"We now know that we are sitting on hundreds of millions of cubic feet of shale gas.

"We do not yet know whether we can get it out as effectively as they have got it out in the US. We do not yet know whether it could be a really good reliable source of cheap energy. That is why we do need to explore.

"We expect 20 to 40 wells to be drilled over the next couple of years. We want local people to benefit from that in terms of the jobs and in terms of the extra growth that it will bring."

Comments (18)

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10:11am Mon 13 Jan 14

SausageHogger says...

Is fracking a viable option with so many mines in St.Helens? I am not for Fracking but Fracking may breath fresh life into St.Helens with so many industries turning its back on the area like Pilks etc.

Both sides need to be seriously considered before an out right no. Lets all put our serious heads on.
Is fracking a viable option with so many mines in St.Helens? I am not for Fracking but Fracking may breath fresh life into St.Helens with so many industries turning its back on the area like Pilks etc. Both sides need to be seriously considered before an out right no. Lets all put our serious heads on. SausageHogger

10:08pm Mon 13 Jan 14

jumperr says...

If we are going to frack why is the government not setting up a fracking board instead of every body else owning it,because it will happen and we will be at the back of the queue again!!?
If we are going to frack why is the government not setting up a fracking board instead of every body else owning it,because it will happen and we will be at the back of the queue again!!? jumperr

9:56am Tue 14 Jan 14

keepitreel says...

JUMPERR,your idea sounds good but would the cost of paying for a board not be restrictive? i think a much beter way would be to sell a licence with strict clauses,90% of the workforce on sites must be from the area the gas extraction is being done,tax will be paid to the country at a higher ratebased on gross figures,a living wage will be paid to the workforce,and the gas can only be sold at an agreed price of 30% less than the gas generated price,then we will reap the benefits,add to this a clause to pay for any damage either environmental or to pay compensation to any one with a claim,this will weed out the quick buck merchants.
JUMPERR,your idea sounds good but would the cost of paying for a board not be restrictive? i think a much beter way would be to sell a licence with strict clauses,90% of the workforce on sites must be from the area the gas extraction is being done,tax will be paid to the country at a higher ratebased on gross figures,a living wage will be paid to the workforce,and the gas can only be sold at an agreed price of 30% less than the gas generated price,then we will reap the benefits,add to this a clause to pay for any damage either environmental or to pay compensation to any one with a claim,this will weed out the quick buck merchants. keepitreel

11:35am Tue 14 Jan 14

Ashtray says...

The only people that will benefit from Fracking in and around St.Helens will be the Fracking Companies themselves. Yes, they're offering to give us some of the profit, a very small percentage by comparison to what they'll make. But who is going to pay for the cost of putting right subsidence and contaminated water in years to come, after they've exhausted the resource and moved on? It won't be them, it'll be us and the Council. They'll tell us that we should have kept funds to one side to cater for this eventuality. We will be the ones to lose out. Always is, always will be. Say NO TO FRACKING and stay safe. If my house suffers from subsidence as a result, I'll be suing the backside out of any Fracking Company that drills anywhere near my house, and that's a promise.
The only people that will benefit from Fracking in and around St.Helens will be the Fracking Companies themselves. Yes, they're offering to give us some of the profit, a very small percentage by comparison to what they'll make. But who is going to pay for the cost of putting right subsidence and contaminated water in years to come, after they've exhausted the resource and moved on? It won't be them, it'll be us and the Council. They'll tell us that we should have kept funds to one side to cater for this eventuality. We will be the ones to lose out. Always is, always will be. Say NO TO FRACKING and stay safe. If my house suffers from subsidence as a result, I'll be suing the backside out of any Fracking Company that drills anywhere near my house, and that's a promise. Ashtray

9:15pm Tue 14 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Local or public owned, no good listening to the right wing,we have had all the holes and smoke before ,let's not miss out. £100,000, about 85p each!?
Local or public owned, no good listening to the right wing,we have had all the holes and smoke before ,let's not miss out. £100,000, about 85p each!? jumperr

7:20pm Thu 16 Jan 14

keepitreel says...

ASHTRAY were is your proof or facts about water contamination or subsidence,please dont give us the you tube videos about some AMERICAN mid west town with gas coming out of the taps as your proof,if you look into this story the gas and contaminated water has been happening for decades before fracking started the same town had pools of crude oil ( black gold Texas tea )bubbling from the ground and into streams and they had a very high water table give us a link to creditable facts and not some green party hype.
ASHTRAY were is your proof or facts about water contamination or subsidence,please dont give us the you tube videos about some AMERICAN mid west town with gas coming out of the taps as your proof,if you look into this story the gas and contaminated water has been happening for decades before fracking started the same town had pools of crude oil ( black gold Texas tea )bubbling from the ground and into streams and they had a very high water table give us a link to creditable facts and not some green party hype. keepitreel

8:59am Fri 17 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

The "Greens" and the travelling protesters/community (a chosen way of life)call this money a "Bribe" but when the local party supported the proposed eyesore windmill in Kings Moss the money given to the owner is called an incentive. They support Green energy but oppose barriers across the Severn or Morecambe Estuaries as they will affect the environment or some Wildlife sanctuary/protected frog.. They also oppose clean coal fired power stations in a country that sits on untold coal reserves.
I give up!! As the Indians say "They speak with forked tongue".
The "Greens" and the travelling protesters/community (a chosen way of life)call this money a "Bribe" but when the local party supported the proposed eyesore windmill in Kings Moss the money given to the owner is called an incentive. They support Green energy but oppose barriers across the Severn or Morecambe Estuaries as they will affect the environment or some Wildlife sanctuary/protected frog.. They also oppose clean coal fired power stations in a country that sits on untold coal reserves. I give up!! As the Indians say "They speak with forked tongue". Bill Bradbury

9:21am Fri 17 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Very forked Bill, also the gentry as well anywhere bar "here"but they seem to own it all.
Very forked Bill, also the gentry as well anywhere bar "here"but they seem to own it all. jumperr

12:32pm Fri 17 Jan 14

jimstevo says...

When the Councils get this money from the 'Fracking Companies',what will stop the Government taking it off them by reducing their Grants .Councils have had Millions taken off them already! It's a drop in the Ocean!
When the Councils get this money from the 'Fracking Companies',what will stop the Government taking it off them by reducing their Grants .Councils have had Millions taken off them already! It's a drop in the Ocean! jimstevo

1:55pm Fri 17 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Same has them advocating higher minimum wage,just put you over some benefits,if they want the people to subsidise those things what is up with a % fine that fits the pocket.
Same has them advocating higher minimum wage,just put you over some benefits,if they want the people to subsidise those things what is up with a % fine that fits the pocket. jumperr

5:50pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Note for Sankey and my Tory Friends. Decided to vote Tory at the next election for I heard a Tory at PMQT suggest that the money be paid to Parish councils. As the Chairman of one I totally agree. Very unlikely to happen as is me voting Tory. Sorry to disappoint!!
Note for Sankey and my Tory Friends. Decided to vote Tory at the next election for I heard a Tory at PMQT suggest that the money be paid to Parish councils. As the Chairman of one I totally agree. Very unlikely to happen as is me voting Tory. Sorry to disappoint!! Bill Bradbury

2:01pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Sankey says...

I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power

Lets get those energy bills down
I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power Lets get those energy bills down Sankey

2:45pm Sat 18 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Should go now for cheapest futures onthe utilities market and stockpile.
Should go now for cheapest futures onthe utilities market and stockpile. jumperr

3:27pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Sankey wrote:
I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power Lets get those energy bills down
Totally agree. I am becoming a Tory!!! help!
[quote][p][bold]Sankey[/bold] wrote: I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power Lets get those energy bills down[/p][/quote]Totally agree. I am becoming a Tory!!! help! Bill Bradbury

4:49pm Sat 18 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Don't have to be a Tory Bill to see common sense !!!.,!
Don't have to be a Tory Bill to see common sense !!!.,! jumperr

10:34pm Sat 18 Jan 14

chasmcn says...

Sankey wrote:
I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power

Lets get those energy bills down
you think the bills will come down i dont believe they will they are out to make as much money as possible out of you and me . i remember privatistion of the utilities that bills will be cheaper we were sold out so i wont hold my breath that bills will be cheaper
[quote][p][bold]Sankey[/bold] wrote: I am in favour of franking coal fired power stations and nuclear power Lets get those energy bills down[/p][/quote]you think the bills will come down i dont believe they will they are out to make as much money as possible out of you and me . i remember privatistion of the utilities that bills will be cheaper we were sold out so i wont hold my breath that bills will be cheaper chasmcn

11:49pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Ashtray says...

keepitreel wrote:
ASHTRAY were is your proof or facts about water contamination or subsidence,please dont give us the you tube videos about some AMERICAN mid west town with gas coming out of the taps as your proof,if you look into this story the gas and contaminated water has been happening for decades before fracking started the same town had pools of crude oil ( black gold Texas tea )bubbling from the ground and into streams and they had a very high water table give us a link to creditable facts and not some green party hype.
Where is your proof or facts that guarantee it won't? Please don't tell me you believe the so-called facts from the Fracking Companies. Vested interest springs to mind. ;-)
[quote][p][bold]keepitreel[/bold] wrote: ASHTRAY were is your proof or facts about water contamination or subsidence,please dont give us the you tube videos about some AMERICAN mid west town with gas coming out of the taps as your proof,if you look into this story the gas and contaminated water has been happening for decades before fracking started the same town had pools of crude oil ( black gold Texas tea )bubbling from the ground and into streams and they had a very high water table give us a link to creditable facts and not some green party hype.[/p][/quote]Where is your proof or facts that guarantee it won't? Please don't tell me you believe the so-called facts from the Fracking Companies. Vested interest springs to mind. ;-) Ashtray

1:38pm Sun 19 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

and Earthquakes have happened in Lancashire and this area long before fracking came in. They link ONE a "evidence" erthquakes are caused.

Keepreal is right let us see the actual evidence and name the town/district/State where the water has been affected? name names, places not some dodgy video which appears is all the evidence that is being submitted.
We had the same scare stories on water table pollution in Billinge (and I think on the Rainford tip) when they decided to fill in the quarry with waste. To date nothing but perhaps scaremongers in a 100 years time or longer might find some evidence then they will have the pleasure of being right.

I recall arguments (c/o Museum Liverpool) that the building of the railway would cause all sorts of problems. The conversation between a land/canal owner with a Mr. Stevenson made similar arguments to HS2. Nothing changes as there will be always those that try to frighten us in our beds. Any progress in this country is met with those "professional agitators" who make a lifestyle out of protests and engendering a nice little "community" of like minded travellers free roadside dwellings.

HS2 and runways will be their next "picket line"- I recall some "tree dwellers" and tunellers on Manchester's runway development. It will ever be so with the "doom mongers" amongst us.
and Earthquakes have happened in Lancashire and this area long before fracking came in. They link ONE a "evidence" erthquakes are caused. Keepreal is right let us see the actual evidence and name the town/district/State where the water has been affected? name names, places not some dodgy video which appears is all the evidence that is being submitted. We had the same scare stories on water table pollution in Billinge (and I think on the Rainford tip) when they decided to fill in the quarry with waste. To date nothing but perhaps scaremongers in a 100 years time or longer might find some evidence then they will have the pleasure of being right. I recall arguments (c/o Museum Liverpool) that the building of the railway would cause all sorts of problems. The conversation between a land/canal owner with a Mr. Stevenson made similar arguments to HS2. Nothing changes as there will be always those that try to frighten us in our beds. Any progress in this country is met with those "professional agitators" who make a lifestyle out of protests and engendering a nice little "community" of like minded travellers free roadside dwellings. HS2 and runways will be their next "picket line"- I recall some "tree dwellers" and tunellers on Manchester's runway development. It will ever be so with the "doom mongers" amongst us. Bill Bradbury

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