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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Our Friends In The North

George Osborne is very keen on the potential of fracking to meet our energy needs while boosting jobs and cutting bills.

But it seems his father-in-law, former minister Lord Howell, shares some of the concerns of those who worry about the impact of the drilling on the environment. Or at least in parts of the UK.

In the Lords just now, Howell said:

“Does the Minister accept that it could be a mistake to think of, discuss fracking in terms of the whole United Kingdom in one go?

There are obviously in beautiful rural areas, worries not just about the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, the delivery and the roads and the disturbance. And those are quite justified worries. But there are large uninhabited and desolate areas, certainly up in the North East where there’s plenty of room for fracking well away from anyone’s residence where it can be conducted without any kind of threat to the rural environment. So would she agree that a distinction should be made between one area and another rather than lumping them all together? And if we can push ahead with this kind of gas production, this takes us fast away from the kind of coal burning which is actually increasing at the moment because of delays in gas production.“

Could this be tricky for the Coalition? Or just the musings of a former minister?

 

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