Cameron accidentally promises millions to those living near fracking sites

During a speech in Lancashire, prime minister David Cameron accidentally told listeners that local communities would receive £1m every time a new well for extracting shale gas is created.

This was ten times the £100,000 agreed last month by ministers, and it would appear that the prime minister simply made a mistake.

Cameron was attempting to quell fears about the impact of shale gas wells on local communities. But in a blog for Conservative Home, executive editor Mark Wallace says opposition will wear off when the novelty does.

In a future with shale gas, the fact is we would hardly notice the installations involved in its extraction. The way in which it would impinge on our awareness would be through its huge benefits to the United Kingdom.

Large numbers of new engineering jobs, and many more in the supply chain. Cheaper energy for households who have seen bills go through the roof in recent years. Raw materials and lower running costs to bring manufacturing back onshore. Less reliance on gas imported from Vladimir Putin and the House of Saud, and increased energy security.

But that will only happen if government, the media and - most importantly - local residents are convinced of the positive reasons to do it. Otherwise, we face a future with even less energy security, even higher bills and a dwindling manufacturing base as our international comeptitors grow rich on a resource that we choose to leave dormant beneath our feet.

Indeed, writing for City A.M., senior economic advisor at the Institute of Directors Corin Taylor has said shale will be vital for a recovery in UK manufacturing (full article here).