13th May 2014
Chief executive of IGas, Andrew Austin, told a shale gas conference this afternoon the industry had to win over women.
Speaking to Shale Gas World in Birmingham, Mr Austin said: “One of the biggest areas is getting the confidence of the women of Britain.”
According to polling data, he said, negative views of fracking were very heavily represented by women. “We have to give them confidence”, he said. “They are the ones that regulate the sustainable side of things of any nation. It is in their DNA.”
Mr Austin said: “We have to engage with local communities”, he said. “This battle will not be won by central government. It will be won locally.
Benefits to local communities
The chair of the Local Government Association, Merrick Cockell, urged the shale gas industry to improve its offer to local communities.
Mr Cockell, speaking at the Shale Gas World this morning, said: “We need a better offer than that now on the table. I urge you to reflect seriously on a better offer that demonstrates tangible local benefits.”
A scheme piloted by the UK Onshore Operators’ Group offers £100,000 to communities where there is a fracked shale exploration well, and one per cent of revenues from production. The government also plans to allow councils to hold on to 100% of business rates from fracking sites.
Mr Cockell urged the industry not to delay: “Get it agreed sooner. Don’t leave it too late to win reasonable people’s hearts and minds”.