In a speech at the Shale World UK 2016 conference in London Andrea Leadsom, UK junior energy minister – and keen supporter of British Independence from the EU-Bloc – put her full support behind the industry, declaring it safe and a bridge to a greener future.
Leadsom said: “Shale is a fantastic opportunity for the UK. It will create a significant number of local jobs meaning financial security for hard working people and their families, boost our economy and strengthen our energy security. But let me be clear, safety is absolutely my priority.
“The UK’s regulations are some of the strongest in the world, and with over 50 years of successful and safe onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction; I am confident that the protections in place for the environment and for people are totally rigorous.
“Britain used to produce so much gas that we sold it to other countries. But today we are forced to import much of what we need, and that share will continue to rise unless we make the most of our home-grown energy supplies.
Leadsom highlighted the UK’s dependency on coal for 30% of our electricity needs, saying that it was unsustainable in the move to a lower carbon world.
“Gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and shale gas can provide an effective “low Carbon Bridge” while we move to renewable energy.
“We need to challenge the misinformation about the industry which is being spread, and clearly explain that shale exploration will always be conducted safely. The public need to receive objective and scientific information which explains how fracking occurs, how it is being regulated, and what it means for them.
“Home-grown gas can secure our energy future in a time when our traditional sources are in decline and we are seeking to move away from expensive foreign imports.
“It can provide jobs for our people and tax revenues for our society. And it can help the UK to decarbonise while we move away from coal to lower-carbon energy sources.
“Secure energy. Economic growth and job creation. A bridge to a greener future.
“Unlocking the shale gas deep underground is too big an opportunity to pass up. It must be done safely and securely, but we can’t throw that opportunity away.”