Win over the public or face more protests, Yeo tells fracking industry

The Conservative MP who scrutinises energy policy told the shale gas industry it could face continuous opposition if it did not win public support for fracking.

Tim Yeo, chair of the energy and climate change committee, said people had to be educated about the benefits of shale gas. “If we fail to carry them along”, he said, “we may find they oppose [fracking] on a case by case.”

Mr Yeo, the opening speaker at the European shale gas and oil summit in London today (September 19 2013), said “We will only reap the benefits [of shale gas] if we succeed in winning round public support.”

Local communities need much more generous benefits, he said. “Nothing would overcome resistance to shale gas than sharing in the profits.” Mr Yeo said under the current planning system developers provided new facilities such as car parks, swimming pools or a bypass. But these benefits didn’t go directly to individuals.

“We need to reach people’s pockets”, he said. He proposed freezing gas prices for communities affected by the shale gas exploitation and giving landowners a share of the mineral rights.

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