Birmingham City Council could be offered could be offered cash if it accepted Fracking in Birmingham according to announcements by David Cameron this week. Prompting campaigners from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace to call the move a “bribe”
Under the proposals councils could be offered 100% of the business rates for Fracking. They would also be offered 1% of the revenue from anything extracted. These proposals are on top of the £100,000 for each test-drilling already promised by the mining industry.
While there aren’t any licences for Fracking in Birmingham at the moment there are applications going in for places in the surrounding area. And while Birmingham is not currently under threat from Fracking, that could change. The news before Christmas was that licences could be granted for 40%-60% of the UK.
A quick check using your postcode on the site Wrongmove , will tell you if you’re in an area that could be fracked according to the Government’s pre-Christmas announcement. Given Birmingham City Council’s current budget constraints, many will feel that the Council would have no choice but to allow Fracking in order to get the cash.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth feel this would be a mistake. It would potentially put Birmingham residents at risk from the process, as well as being short sighted and the city contributing to extraction of more fossil fuels, when we should be moving to cleaner renewable forms of energy.
The ability for this to be a revenue-stream for the council may seem attractive, but many campaigners will feel booming renewables industry could also do wonders for Birmingham and its councils finances.