Fracking could create thousands of jobs and boost the economy, a new report from a group of leading businessmen says.
The document, Getting Shale Gas Working, produced by the Institute of Directors and launched in Lancashire today, says that the controversial process of extracting natural gas from deep lying shale rock layers could benefit the Fylde coast and Britain in general.
It says shale gas development could create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce gas imports, generate significant tax revenue and support British manufacturing.
The report has been sponsored by Cuadrilla, the company which wants to frack for gas beneath the Fylde, but the IOD says the content and conclusions are all its own.
The report highlights barriers that need to be overcome, including residents’ environmental damage fears, and recommends that local authorities be able to keep all of business rates for shale gas sites to benefit local areas.
It also says work to improve skills and support the supply chain should be developed locally and Lancashire be made into a centre of excellence.
Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the IoD and author of the report, said: “Shale gas could be a new North Sea for Britain, creating tens of thousands of jobs, supporting our manufacturers and reducing gas imports.
“Further exploration will be needed to assess the size of technically and commercially recoverable resources.”
Dan Lewis, chief executive of Future Energy Strategies, Energy Policy Adviser to the IoD said: “Within living memory, Aberdeen became the energy capital of Europe and the second richest part of the UK.
“With excellent infrastructure, a history of innovation and key strengths in advanced engineering Lancashire is well placed to take advantage.”