Fracking decision is good news, says IoD Lancashire chairman

Lee Petts, chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Lancashire has welcomed news that shale gas exploration in Lancashire has been given the green light.

Lee PettsThe secretary of state for communities and local government, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, announced that Cuadrilla Resources can restart the search for shale gas in Lancashire, overturning an earlier decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning permission for temporary exploration works.

“This is good news for Lancashire,” says Petts. “We know from research conducted independently earlier this year by ComRes that half (53 per cent) of Lancashire business decision makers believe that the development of a shale gas industry in Lancashire would have a positive impact on the local economy. A more recent survey of nearly 1,000 IoD members also found that over half back hydraulic fracturing of shale rock for oil and gas.

“What we need to see now is this small amount of exploratory drilling and fracking being conducted safely and as quickly as possible so that the results can be analysed and a better understanding gained of the commercial potential of this natural resource. Doing so will give concerned local residents a chance to see for themselves that it can be done in an environmentally sensitive manner, whilst better informing predictions about the size and scale of future jobs and supply chain opportunities.”

In 2013, a report by the IoD found that a successful shale gas industry could one day support as many as 74,000 jobs across the UK. Lancashire’s rich mining, engineering and manufacturing history means it has all the right ingredients to make shale gas a success and capitalise on the jobs potential.

The news comes just weeks after the government gave the green light to building the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset, the first such new plant to be built in a generation. Petts concluded: “With its existing strengths in nuclear fuel production and engineering, and soon shale gas too, Lancashire looks set to be at the forefront of powering the UK economy, generating investment and jobs, boosting energy security and helping to cut emissions from coal-fired power generation in the process.”