Barbara has expressed her doubts about claims in a report commissioned by energy firm IGas and landowner Peel Holdings that fracking could bring 3,500 jobs and £10 billion in investment to the North West.
The report, by a firm of consultants, makes the claim that the jobs could be created between Liverpool and Manchester over the next 20 years. The figures are based on projections for 30 shale gas production sites across the North West.
“I have serious doubts about the claims made in this report that the local community would benefit from the jobs and investment generated by fracking at areas like Barton Moss.
“The report states that there may currently be a shortage of people qualified to work in fracking in the North West. There were very few jobs for local people in evidence at the Barton Moss site during the exploratory drilling phase. In fact, local business people told me that the drilling activity at Barton Moss caused harm to their businesses, not growth or investment. I am particularly concerned about the impact that fracking could have on businesses involved in agriculture, market gardening and tourism.
“We must also remember that local people ended up footing the £1million bill for policing of the protest at the site. For local residents there are also worries about loss of value in their homes and businesses and difficulty in selling property if they want to move.
“I feel it is unlikely that the communities living near to fracking sites would feel the benefits claimed. Also, I feel they would not outweigh the harm that could be experienced by local people and businesses from the disruption caused by the siting of this industrial process near to homes and businesses. I will continue to speak out on behalf of local residents on the difficulties caused by the shale gas industry, which I believe is unsuitable for sites in built-up urban areas.”