More than 100 North West businesses have backed a call to action from the newly-formed North West Energy Task Force, to seize a once-in-a-life time opportunity for skills and jobs in the region.
In a letter to the Blackpool Gazette, the new group, led by 10 North West-based business leaders, warned, “thousands of British jobs and vital investment in the UK are at risk from more competitive overseas economies”.
The group’s letter says the responsible development of natural gas from shale in the North West of England could:
• Create thousands of jobs in new industries and ease pressures facing UK manufacturers as they continue to be challenged by more competitive overseas economies.
• Generate sustainable export-led economic growth.
• Boost tax revenues for much-needed investment in the region’s public services.
John Kersey, spokesman for the Task Force, said: “The exploration and potential for development of natural gas from shale presents a once in a generation opportunity to harness the benefits that a new supply of gas could create in terms of jobs and encouraging investment in our region.
“We call on business, industry and policy-makers to get behind shale to ensure the North West is in the best possible position to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.”
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and member of the Task Force, said: “Done safely and responsibly, we welcome the development.
“We believe that the development would be an important step in meeting the UK’s future energy needs while also providing a major boost to the local and national economy.”
Sean Lord, Director of Lytham Technology and a member of the Task Force, said: “As a local businessman and resident, I’m confident that when you mix significant new energy resources with the North West’s existing skill base and entrepreneurial drive it will unleash a new era of growth for our region.”
Businesses and individuals interested in the North West’s onshore energy can sign up at www.nwenergy.org.uk