The Shale Wealth Fund will see communities near “significant shale gas reserves” offered a share of a £1bn pot which can be spent on projects ranging from play parks to transport links.
The idea was first floated by ministers last summer, when critics of the industry dismissed it as a “bribe”. But the Government insists the fund is part of efforts to empower ensure local communities.
Unveiling the scheme today, Treasury Minister Andrew Jones said shale production “could play an important part” in the UK’s future energy security, “creating jobs and boosting our economy”. “The economic benefits must be shared with those living alongside these sites and this funding will ensure local people reap the rewards too,” he said.
The policy will be funded by 10 percent of tax revenues arising from shale gas production. Communities could receive up to £10m, to be spent as they decide, with residents in the North and the Midlands set to benefit first.
However, the offer is unlikely to placate anti-fracking campaigners in areas like North Yorkshire, where just last month three protestors scaled a 60 foot-high rig at the fracking site in Kirby Misperton. Critics of the industry argue it can lead to water contamination, earthquakes and traffic pollution