Wednesday 23 November 2016 2:17 pm

Communities near fracking sites get power to decide how to spend £1bn fund, Philip Hammond announces in Autumn Statement

Communities close to fracking projects will definitely get a say in how to spend up to £1bn funelled to them through the Shale Wealth Fund, the government confirmed today.

“Following a consultation to ensure local communities share in the benefits of shale production, the Shale Wealth Fund will provide up to £1bn of additional resources to local communities, over and above industry schemes and other sources of government funding,” the Treasury said in the Autumn Statement today.

“Local communities will benefit first and determine how the money is spent in their area.”

Read more: Will shale be the game-changer for the UK it's been for the US?

The fund was set up under George Osborne and promised up to 10 per cent of tax proceeds from shale gas projects will go to local communities.

A consultation on the fund closed in late October. The government will publish a full response by the end of the year, which will provide more details on how the communities will decide where to direct the additional cash.

Although fracking has proven to be a controversial issue, the government and business have welcomed the new industry as part of the UK's energy policy.

Within the next few days the High Court is expected to decide on a judicial review for fracking proposals in North Yorkshire, where Third Energy is testing hydraulic fracturing near the village of Kirby Misperton.