Community leaders have vowed to fight for their council’s share of the proceeds from fracking operations.
The United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), the representative body for UK onshore oil and gas companies, revealed in its charter that money will be allocated to both a community and county level.
The binding charter for UKOOG members, of which Fylde coast operator Cuadrilla is one of them, details that “one per cent of revenues will be allocated approximately two thirds to the local community and one third at the county level.”
This comes after Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, had expressed his concerns about where the money from the shale gas drilling operation would end up.
He said: “The issue for us is as soon as this happens it could be a significant amount of revenue diverted to Preston and east Lancashire, but I want us to benefit.
“How do you define the ‘local community’ is a question I would be asking.
“However, I certainly feel more reassured after this was issued.”
Energy Minister Michael Fallon told The Gazette residents could benefit from shale gas drilling, with community handouts worth at least £100,000 per ‘fracked’ site.
And an extract from the charter read: “...at present the industry envisages that community funding will be targeted at both the very local level with a local community fund entirely administered by local people for local needs with an appropriate cap for very small communities and a ‘regional’ package of funding at a county level.”
Coun David Eaves, leader of Fylde Council, said: “The announcement was only made on Thursday and I would hope any money would come to district councils before county council.
“District councils will want to be sure the right regulations are in place for these plans.”
MPs say it is only right communities closest to any drilling should benefit from a cash fund.
Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre, said: “The potential revenues from shale gas are £260bn from the resources in the North.
“So I think it is a start, however this is a negotiation process and I will be working with the local councils the county councils to make sure we get the best benefit we can out of this.”
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said “There is a huge amount of wealth under our feet and I think it is only fair and right communities closest to the drilling benefit the most.”
But Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “If drilling were to take place in Fylde, I remain inflexible on the point that there must be a gold standard of regulation reached before any potential move to the extraction phase.”
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