New fracking sites could soon be springing up across the country.

Fracking: Britain's big balancing act

Shale gas is certainly controversial, but Brits may be more willing to accept it as the desperation for cheaper energy bills takes hold.

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GMB: Fracking 'compensation' a knee-jerk move

The case for fracking is yet to be proven on environmental or economic grounds, the national officer of the GMB union has said, reacting to reports on the forthcoming British Geological Survey, which is expected to reveal huge oil reserves across Southern England.

Fracking needs to be subject to an honest, rational debate that focuses on a plan for energy, including gas in the UK.

The expected announcement on compensation is yet another knee jerk move by a government that has lost any credibility on energy policy.

– Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy

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Fracking estimates 'will set alarm bells ringing'

The Government should be backing renewable power and energy efficiency, Friends of the Earth said, reacting to reports on the forthcoming British Geological Survey, which is expected to reveal huge oil reserves across Southern England.

Regional Campaigner Brenda Pollack said:

These latest estimates will set alarm bells ringing across the South East of England where fracking firms seem intent on punching holes in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside in the search for profits.

No wonder the Government waited until after the elections to make this announcement as Lord Howell recently warned that fracking will cost the Tories thousands of votes in their heartlands.

Read: Fracking regions 'to receive £800K to stave off critics'

Caroline Lucas: Fracking won't reduce energy bills

Fracking will not bring down energy bills as the gas or oil exploited would be sold on European markets and not used in the UK, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said, after reports suggested that communities affected by drilling will be offered an average of £800,000 in additional compensation.

Dr Caroline Lucas MEP Credit: PA

She told BBC Two's Newsnight: "Even the boss of (fracking firm) Cuadrilla has said fracking in Britain wouldn't reduce energy prices.

"Even the experts, even the people who are in the forefront of the fracking ideology are saying actually that it's not going to lead to lower prices so if you want lower prices you need to go down the renewable route."

Read: Fracking regions 'to receive £800K to stave off critics'

Report to reveal 'huge oil reserves in Southern England'

A report published later today from the British Geological Survey is expected to reveal huge reserves oil reserves across Southern England, the BBC reports.

The study covers areas across Sussex, Surrey and Kent, is said to say there are several billion barrels of oil in shale rocks, that could be drilled through the controversial fracking process.

The Times is reporting that the government will offer money to areas outlined in a bid to stave off criticism amid growing concerns over the safety of the procedure.

Fracking regions 'to receive £800K to stave off critics'

Communities affected by controversial "fracking" will be offered huge sums of money in a bid to win hearts and minds, according to reports.

The Prime David Cameron is an avid supporter of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, but some communities are up in arms. Credit: Press Association

Communities in potential hacking sites, due to be identified in the British Geological Survey later today, will be offered an average of £800,000 in additional compensation efforts, the Times reports.

Mr Cameron will make the announcement as the survey is published, later today.

Read: Developing fracking 'an urgent national priority'

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Greenpeace: Fracking 'non-solution' to energy crisis

Fracking is a "non-solution" to global warming, dwindling natural resources and dependency on foreign gas, a leading environmental charity has said.

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr criticised the Lords Economic Affairs Committee for "cherry-picking" evidence to support Government plans to go "all out for shale".

The real urgent national priority is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures which would much more rapidly address the security issues flagged up by the Ukraine crisis.

The Lords spent seven months cherry-picking the wafer thin evidence that fits a foregone conclusion about the benefits of shale gas.

This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country's legitimate concerns about fracking.

– Dr Doug Parr

Fracking 'potentially a remarkable opportunity' for UK

Fracking could "potentially" be a "remarkable opportunity" for the UK to develop a new industry which would create jobs and deliver greater independence from the global energy market, a leading member of the House of Lords said.

Lord MacGregor, the chairman of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee said:

The Committee strongly supports the Government's decision to go 'all out for shale'.

But here in the UK we have not yet left the starting gate.

Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.

Potentially it's a remarkable opportunity for this country.

We're calling for streamlining not weakening the regulation and we believe the Government needs to get its act together faster and more comprehensively.

– Lord MacGregor

UK fracking industry an 'urgent national priority'

Developing the UK's fracking industry is "an urgent national priority", according to a committee of peers.

Read: Green MP Caroline Lucas cleared over fracking protests

Fracking
The Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, was the centre of environmental protests last summer. Credit: PA

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee pointed to the shale gas industry as a way of creating jobs, cutting emissions and making the UK less dependent on foreign gas and oil.

Ministers also needed to do more to drive forward exploratory drilling and appraisal of shale resources to see how much could be developed economically, a report by the Lords said.

They also backed moves by the Government to change trespass laws so that shale companies could drill under people's property without their permission to ensure development could go ahead "without undue delay or cost".

Read: Hague: Fracking can 'weaken Russia's grip over Europe'

Rig and flare plan at anti-fracking village criticised

Friends of the Earth campaigner Brenda Pollack said "councillors have not listened to local people" over fracking and claimed an imminent exploration project was an attempt to "set the wheels in motion for dirty fossil fuel extraction."

A West Sussex County Council report said the number of vehicles involved in the oil and gas exploration project near Balcombe was not concerning and emissions would be controlled to ensure water quality would not be compromised.

Environmental activists joined hands around the Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site at Balcombe last year. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The report also said the rig and flare on the site would be visible at times but that it would be short lived. The plan involves cleaning the existing borehole and carrying out "flow-testing" by pumping fluids from the well into tanks on the site and flaring any gas.

A planning committee said the conditions of the approval were "proportionate and fair".

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