Tax breaks and fast-track permits for shale gas exploration will be offered today as new data suggest resources are richer than expected.
The incentives, a part of government’s £100bn infrastructure package, are being introduced the same day when the British Geological Survey is about to release a new survey confirming that reserves of natural gas in the UK are much higher than previously expected. There is now thought to be as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet at the Bowland site, in Lancashire.
The government believes that shale gas exploration can help kick-start British economy, provide jobs and reduce energy costs.
Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will outline the guidance on shale gas tax breaks and other incentives within the next three weeks.
As a part of the shale-gas package, benefits for communities affected are believed to be put forward, offering at least £100,000 or minimum 1 per cent of the overall business revenues for each community affected by fracking.
However, environmentalists are concerned the predicted benefits of shale gas exploration are overrated. "There's a huge difference between the amount of gas in the ground and how much fracking companies will be able to commercially extract,” said Lawrence Carter, energy campaigner at Greenpeace. "Even if they do manage to get some gas out, the fracking industry's own research reveals that production wouldn't reach meaningful levels until well into the next decade."
The environmentalists are alarmed by the environmental damage shale gas technology development might have on the north-west England and would prefer to see it as a hub of Britain’s green energy and economic transformation.
Some believe that deployment of fracking technology might result in earthquakes, water supplies pollution and would affect property prices.