Government proposals to develop the shale gas industry will be “welcome” to some councils across the country – but are not right for Cheshire East.
The measures, unveiled today, include allowing councils to keep 100 per cent off the business rates for shale gas projects, rather than the usual 50 per cent.
Also, the shale gas industry has promised communities £100,000 for test drilling at potential sites and a further 1% of the revenues if deposits are discovered.
Shale gas is extracted through the controversial fracking technique, which involves deep-drilling with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals in order to release hard-to-reach deposits of shale gas.
Although the British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the north of England, Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has confirmed that there won’t be any fracking projects in Cheshire East.
Cllr Jones explained: “Let me be clear, there are parts of the country where local councils will welcome ministers’ offer to benefit from shale gas extraction, however our main focus as a council is on the exciting potential for geothermal technology in Crewe.
“We believe this is a ‘game-changer’ for the borough, providing renewable heat and energy on a significant scale and we are in talks with the government to help us develop the site.”
He added: “Fracking may well be a useful technology for other areas and good luck to them if it is, however the people of Cheshire East have our assurance that there won’t be any in our borough.”
The Council is also investigating the use of other renewable technologies such as advanced thermal treatments, which process solid waste, to reduce carbon emissions and introduce a step change in local energy production.