Britain would be “making a big mistake” if it did not seriously consider fracking and the prospect of cheaper gas prices, the Prime Minister has warned.
David Cameron said the country is “missing out big time at the moment” as he compared the number of shale gas wells dug in the European Union compared with the United States. But he cautioned that safety needs to be assured and that “very clear” environmental procedures would have to be met before companies were given the go-ahead to start fracking.
The economy needs rebalancing but a key part of that is the need to have affordable energy, he added. “I think we would be making a big mistake as a nation if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK,” he said at a Q&A session at Crown Paints in Darwen, Lancashire.
“If you look what’s happening in America with the advent of shale gas and fracking, their energy costs in business and their gas prices are half the level of ours. We are seeing businesses that have previously gone off to Mexico and elsewhere come back to the United States.
“Nothing is going to happen in this country unless its environmentally safe. There is no question of having earthquakes and fire coming out of taps and all the rest of it. There will be very clear environmental procedures and certificates you will have to get before you can frack.”
He said communities in the United States had felt the financial benefits of shale gas drilling “very quickly” and that British communities could see similar advantages.
“The EU has about three-quarters as much shale gas as the US so we are missing out big time at the moment,” he added. “I want to make sure that Britain does not miss out.”