MP’s pledge on fracking compensation

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MP Eric Ollerenshaw says a better tax deal for fracking companies must be reflected in local community compensation payments.

His comments came as fracking company Caudrilla begins consultations with residents as it carries out environmental risk assessments for shale gas exploration in the county.

Meetings have been held in Elswick and the latest in Freckleton, aimed at residents in the Clifton area, where the company is planning a vertical exploration well.

The Lancaster and Fleetwood MP has expressed his incredulity at the amount of community compensation currently being discussed.

He said: “The Treasury consultation paper suggests a series of tax breaks for shale gas companies which might lead to a 50 per cent reduction in the amount of tax they might have expected to pay, to help the industry to get off the ground in the UK. I am not against tax breaks like that to help new industries get established.

“However, if such tax breaks were to be given I would expect more substantial community compensation than the one per cent of revenues currently on offer. That offer was made at a time when the tax situation was not known. If the companies are going to get a better tax deal I want to see the local communities hosting the drilling and fracking activities getting a better deal as well.”

The MP commented after a consultation paper published by the Treasury, said substantial tax breaks for fracking companies should also mean an increase in benefits for communities affected.

Mr Ollerenshaw said: “I have long been calling for tangible and substantial compensation for local communities as part of any agreement which allows shale gas extraction to take place on an industrial scale.

“I will be working in and outside Parliament with other local MPs to that end.”