Government's fracking concession to councils splits opinion

Today's government announcement that councils will receive a greater share of revenues from fracking has been described variously as a "bribe" and "going down the right path".

Greenpeace: has mounted publicity stunts to express opposition to fracking
Greenpeace: has mounted publicity stunts to express opposition to fracking

Local authorities that back shale gas drilling will receive 100 per cent of business rates collected from companies, rather than the usual 50 per cent, the Government said.

Green groups opposed to fracking criticised the move, with Greenpeace saying it was an attempt to "bribe hard-pressed councils".

But John Higginson, head of comms at Westbourne Communications, which works for Centrica, a firm with interests in shale gas, said: "It’s outrageous to say that this is bribery. There has been a lot of scaremongering by opposition groups and not enough facts.

"The Government is absolutely going down the right path. Saying that revenue will go to the local councils will send a message to some of those communities, many of which don’t have nearly enough money or jobs, that this is an opportunity to become more self-sufficient."

However, another lobbyist without a fracking client claimed the announcement was not enough on its own to convince councils and communities to approve more planning applications.

Four Public Affairs director Ralph Scott said: "From a comms perspective the Government needed credible third party endorsements, yet the Local Government Association was lukewarm at best and case studies from real people in real communities are absent.

"This announcement is a helpful building block, but are all parts of the coalition committed to driving this policy with a long-term campaign? And will Conservative backbenchers be as enthusiastic as ministers when it comes to applications in their back yard? Current politics and recent history suggests not."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Hit or Miss? UKIP responds to Times story about Nigel Farage expenses

Hit or Miss? UKIP responds to Times story about Nigel Farage expenses

UKIP and its leader Nigel Farage came out fighting over a story in The Times yesterday that he is facing an investigation over £60,000 of "missing" European Union funds.

Ebay appoints Launch PR and Exposure for UK consumer work

Ebay appoints Launch PR and Exposure for UK consumer work

Online retailer eBay has appointed Launch PR and Exposure to its roster of agencies for UK consumer work.

Skyscanner selects Mischief for UK PR task

Skyscanner selects Mischief for UK PR task

Flight search company Skyscanner has brought in Mischief PR to oversee its UK communications as part of a Europe-wide round of agency appointments.