The Chamber of Commerce for Notts, Derbyshire and Leicestershire has called for the development of the UK’s shale gas industry to be speeded up.
And the Chamber is effectively backing the controversial fracking process, something that will anger groups such as Frack Free Notts, who recently opposed Dart Energy’s exploratory drilling at Daneshill Energy Forest in Sutton-cum-Lound.
The Chamber’s comments come the wake of a new report urging the Government to do more to bring forward the development of the UK’s shale gas and oil resources.
The report, from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, says the UK is ‘exceptionally fortunate’ to have substantial shale gas and oil resources and recommends urgent appraisal and exploration to establish their economic potential.
It also calls for simplified regulation of shale oil and gas exploration to encourage the development of shale, which is extracted from the ground by fracking, which has prompted environmental concerns.
But the report says the risks of harm to the environment or human health are low and urges Ministers to take greater steps to reassure communities and strengthen public confidence in the safety of the process.
Chris Hobson, head of information and representation at the Chamber, said: “The Lords Committee’s report into the development of the UK’s shale and oil resources takes a very balanced view and makes some sensible recommendations about the urgency with which we need to start exploiting these vital energy reserves and the loosening of regulations which are holding up progress.”
“Before 2003, thanks to North Sea reserves, Britain was a net exporter of gas and oil, but in the past decade that position has reversed.”
“We are now a net importer, which leaves us vulnerable to rising prices and volatile foreign markets and could negatively impact on our competitiveness in domestic and global markets.”
“Using energy produced here at home would mean we are much less exposed to these risks and fracking is an established technique that could help us achieve this.
“Developing a viable shale industry in the East Midlands could have positive economic implications for the region in terms of investment, jobs and supply chain engagement and has the potential to provide security of energy supply to regional manufacturers.
“We need this energy source and it will come.”
“The question is when, not if.”