The UK government was lambasted for censoring a report that details the effect of shale gas drilling on house prices and local services. The activists want the government to release the full version of the report as it drags its feet on the issue of compensating homeowners who live near planned fracking sites.
The report, titled Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts, was compiled in March and the draft published under environmental information regulations with most parts of the text edited, reports the Guardian. For instance, the section detailing the impact of drilling on house prices has had three parts deleted.
The published sections refer to a 2010 report on Texas, which discovered that houses worth over 150,000 pounds that are located within 1,000 feet of a drilling site saw their values plunge 3% to 14%.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published the report immediately after the Whitehall opened roughly two-thirds of United Kingdom to a fresh round of bidding for drilling licenses. The government, led by Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne, has continuously trumpeted the benefits of shale gas to cut energy costs, boost the economy and cut reliance on energy imports, mostly from Russia.
However, most MPs are worried that drilling may negatively affect the landscape, harm the environment and cause housing prices to spiral in their respective constituencies. In particular, leading Green MP Caroline Lucas, who represents Brighton Pavilion, criticized the report, saying it would fuel discontent among the public.
“It appears that the government has a great deal to hide with regards to the risks of fracking for local communities,” she said. “The number of redactions would be almost comical if it weren’t so concerning. What are the economic, social and environment impacts and effects upon housing and local services, agriculture and tourism that the government is so keen to withhold from us? The implications of fracking for rural communities are vast. It is critical the public knows the facts: absolute transparency is essential – censorship should not be an option.”
The government’s decision to award 100,000 pounds to local people impacted by fracking to share it among themselves has also been met with opposition, with some activists terming the amount as an “insult”. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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