The Government’s newly appointed Shale Commissioner visited Lancashire to meet business and community leaders.
Natascha Engel, former Labour MP for North East Derbyshire, was installed as the Government’s shale Tsar in October 2018. Her role includes meeting with communities and feeding back to Government.
She was invited to visit local supporters at an intimate event arranged and hosted by Lancashire For Shale, at Bartle Hall, where she was introduced to 25 Lancastrians to hear about their hopes and aspirations for the county’s newest industry.
Lancashire For Shale Chair, Lee Petts, said: “We are very grateful to the Government’s independent Shale Commissioner for taking the time to come and listen to local industry supporters, having already visited a number of groups and individuals campaigning against fracking. It’s important that all views are heard in the debate about using locally obtained gas to help meet our future energy needs.”
Natsascha Engel said: “I was delighted to meet and hear from local people that support the idea of producing shale gas in Lancashire, and who are evidently very passionate about seeing the industry succeed.
"It was incredible to see the work that local businesses and residents have put in to make shale gas a reality in Lancashire. This isn’t just about our long-term energy security but also about bringing jobs to areas with some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.”
She also met OBAS UK, a construction supplies firm in Longridge that has benefited from work in the supply chain, and AFC Fylde Community Foundation that has had community funding from Cuadrilla.
But a Frack Free Lancashire spokesman said: “Natascha Engel was asked this week, at a meeting with local residents, how she could make a case that fracking would be economically viable and if she could not do so, how she could support the claims being made by the industry and government relating to energy security and job creation.
“Her response was that they could not guarantee that it would be economically viable and that was why they needed to do testing. The industry, the government and their “tsar” seem to be very heavy on bluster but very light on evidence to support their myths about job creation or energy security.”