Fracking: Arguments For

Arguments in favour of shale gas mining

England has some of the largest reserves of shale gas in the world. Our gas fields are up to 50 times deeper than in the United States. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland also have significant reserves.

All mining is dirty, dangerous and ugly but the modern world doesn't happen by magic, it requires energy and resources from the ground. People have been mining since the stone age. 7000 million human beings can not live on the planet without having some impact on the environment.

This country has endured deep coal mining for centuries which is considerably more dirty than hydraulic fracturing for gas. Coal mining produced slag heaps, dust, lung cancer, spoiled landscapes, contaminated water and methane emissions yet the industry is viewed with such nostalgia that we now have museums devoted to it. Many people believe Thatcher was wrong to close the coal mines yet when another form of mining comes along it is met with opposition. If this country can cope with coal mining then it can cope with the far smaller challenges that may arise from shale gas extraction.

Even wind turbines, which are cherished by those who say we should invest only in renewables, are made of steel, which comes from iron ore, which comes from mines. There is no way we can prevent a measure of impact on the environment.

However, there could be 100,000 well-paid jobs and careers for life over the next several decades across the country. There could be huge tax revenues for local authorities which are currently suffering swinging cuts that are not going to be reversed any time soon.

If the Shale Gas industry takes off in this country the government would collect huge tax revenue which could be used to pay off the national debt. It could, perhaps, be used to provide free elderly care for all so no one will have to sell their home to pay for it. Leaving a country to our grandchildren that is debt free and leaving them the full value of your house is something that might well be possible through shale gas. It would be deeply irresponsible not to do it.

Some say we shouldn't extract this gas for Co2 and methane reasons but we will continue to consume just as much gas whether it comes from beneath our feet or all the way from Russia. We can continue to enrich Middle Eastern dictators, Russian Oligarchs and the Norwegian State Pension Fund or take a substantial amount of the wealth from fossil fuels for this country. The amount of greenhouse gases produced will be about the same wherever it comes from.

A wind turbine does not provide the fuel for gas central heating. Domestic heating is one of the largest single areas of energy consumption. There is presently no form of "renewable energy" that can replace domestic gas.

Any suggestion that we should show moral leadership by not mining for this gas is nonsense - no one else in the world is listening and has the slightest care about what we do in Britain.

The prosperity of this country should not be taken for granted. There's nothing to guarantee that the UK should be richer than any other country and the rest of the world is catching up fast. Shale gas can help return the UK to prosperity and allow us to continue to enjoy a high standard of living.