The Cheshire-based water company United Utilities has confirmed its considering leasing some of its land to Cuadrilla for fracking. The company say they're in talks to identify suitable sites. Fracking uses water to release gas. Opponents say it can damage the environment.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said it was "reasonable" to offer tax breaks for controversial fracking in a bid to to encourage exploration of an unconventional energy resource in the UK.
There's been an angry response from environmentalists over government plans to give tax breaks to fracking companies. The process uses liquid to fracture rock and release gas. Chancellor George Osborne says communities where fracking happens will receive £100,000 and a share of profits.
– Chancellor George Osborne
"Shale gas is a resource with huge potential to broaden the UK's energy mix. We want to create the right conditions for industry to explore and unlock that potential in a way that allows communities to share in the benefits. This new tax regime, which I want to make the most generous for shale in the world, will contribute to that. I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution - because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people."
– Lawrence Carter, Greenpeace
"The Chancellor is telling anyone who will listen that UK shale gas is set to be an economic miracle, yet he's had to offer the industry sweetheart tax deals just to reassure them that fracking would be profitable. Experts from energy regulator Ofgem to Deutsche Bank and the company in receipt of this tax break, Cuadrilla, admit that it won't reduce energy prices for consumers. Instead we're likely to see the industrialisation of tracts of the British countryside, gas flaring in the Home Counties and a steady stream of trucks carrying contaminated water down rural lanes."
– Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth
Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns, said: "Promising tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment, when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts, is a disgrace. Ministers should be encouraging investors to develop the nation's huge renewable energy potential. This would create tens of thousands of jobs and wean the nation off its increasingly expensive fossil fuel dependency."
George Osborne has unveiled tax breaks for controversial fracking in a bid to create the "most generous" regime for shale gas in the world. It will reduce the tax on the income from shale production from 62% to 30%. The process uses high pressure liquid to fracture rock and release the gas.
MPs are meeting to discuss proposals to extract shale gas from sites across the region. Fracking uses high powered jets of water to release underground gas reserves. Supporters say it could bring cheaper bills and thousands of jobs, but opponents say its still unclear how much damage it could cause.