Individuals – rather the community groups and local authorities – adversely affected by drilling for shale gas could be in line for pay-outs from the shale wealth fund, according to new prime minister Theresa May.
The shale wealth fund <for England> was established by former chancellor George Osborne to allow a percentage of the proceeds from fracking to be given to councils or community trusts to spend.
However, speaking ahead of the launch of a consultation on the fund, Theresa May said she wanted to make sure that individuals benefitted personally from the government’s economic decisions.
Speaking on the eve of a new government consultation on the issue, May said the government wanted to help “ordinary families for whom life is harder than many people in politics realise” and added:
“It’s about making sure people personally benefit from economic decisions that are taken – not just councils – and putting them back in control over their lives.”
May did not put a figure on the pay-outs but the BBC suggested it could be up to £10,000 apiece.
The UK government believe that a domestic shale gas industry could provide jobs and be part of the country’s energy mix. However, environmentalists claim that the hydraulic fracturing process – ‘fracking’ poses a public health risk.
In Scotland, the minority SNP government is awaiting the outcome of an independent scientific review of shale energy, which is due to report in Spring 2017 – after imposing a ‘temporary’ moratorium on fracking in Jan 2015.
A report by scientific experts commissioned by the Scottish Government in the previous parliament has already supported onshore shale gas exploration.