KNUTSFORD’S Labour Party believe the town’s MP should tell his constituents his plans for a controversial process to abstract gas from underground chambers after it emerged Tatton was ‘gas rich’.
George Osborne, Tatton MP, unveiled his new tax regime in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, December 5, to encourage fracking exploration and unlock shale gas reserves that could be worth £1.5 trillion to Britain’s economy.
Hydraulic fracturing, using pressurised water to drive gas from shale rock, was suspended after Cuadrilla Resources Ltd set off two earth tremors last year near Blackpool.
The Chancellor wants the UK to give priority to gas as a power source as it’s cheaper than renewables and less harmful to the environment than coal.
But according to a map from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Chancellor’s Tatton constituency is rich in the fuel, and Dominic Brown, chairman of Tatton Labour Party, told the Guardian he believed Mr Osborne was putting his own constituents at risk.
“This process is something to be concerned about, and especially in this region, as supposedly one of the biggest reserves of shale gas in this country is the ‘Cheshire basin’ which is where we all live,” he said.
“This means that all the risks mentioned above are likely to affect us, and it appears our own MP is not only backing this high-risk strategy but is one of its main supporters.
“George Osborne as Chancellor needs to find ways of making this country better off, and I understand that, but when it is putting his own constituents at risk I think he needs to explain himself.
“The Labour Party believes that fracking should not go ahead while there are still doubts about its safety, and giving tax breaks to the drilling companies will not provide a solution to this problem.
“George Osborne needs to give his constituents some answers.”
Mr Osborne told the Guardian a decision would be made ‘shortly’ on the decision whether to recommence the fracking process in the UK.
“Shale gas is potentially an exciting new prospect for diversifying our energy supplies and meeting our energy needs,” he said.
“However, the Government is absolutely clear that any development must meet high standards of environmental protection and be safe for local communities – that’s why we are creating a single office to bring together all the different regulators.
“A decision on whether to recommence hydraulic fracturing will be announced by the Secretary of State shortly."
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