Cameron says fracking firms must do more to explain benefits

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Fracking companies must do a better job of explaining the benefits of drilling for shale gas, David Cameron said as he insisted the payments on offer to local communities represent a “good deal”.

Mr Cameron told the Commons he was in favour of fracking, but warned companies hoping to drill for the fuel had to explain that shale gas could be a source of “low-cost green energy”.

Fracking is set become a major industry in Yorkshire over the coming years if scientists’ estimates about the amount of shale gas trapped beneath the ground in parts of the region prove accurate.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said: “I think that shale has a huge potential for our country. But we have clearly got to do a far better job of explaining and working with communities about the benefits - and also talking frankly about the process.

“I think there are a huge amount of myths being put around in order to frighten people about shale gas extraction - whereas we can see in the United States it can be extracted safely and cleanly, providing effective low-cost green energy for our homes and businesses and make our country more competitive at the same time.”

Labour backbencher Jack Straw said the financial benefits Mr Cameron is making available to communities which allow fracking are “near-derisory”. Downing Street insisted the £100,000 payments, and 1 per cent cut of revenue, represent a “good deal”.