Fracking job claims hugely exaggerated, says Friends of the Earth

Renewable energy generates six times as many jobs as gas, says a new Friends of the Earth (FoE) report which rubbishes claims from shale-exploration firm Cuadrilla that each fracking wellpad will support 1,100 jobs.

Published with support from PCS Union and North West trade councils, the FoE report points to the US shale gas industry, where one wellpad supports around 400 jobs – approximately 36% of Cuadrilla’s claim. It also points out that any new jobs created would likely only be short-term.

“Research for Cuadrilla claims shale gas production in Lancashire would create 1,700 jobs – but this figure is for one year only, and falls to under 200 only three years afterwards,” the report reads. “But the potential impacts of fracking are long-term: communities will face environmental risks for many years after the jobs have ceased to exist.”

By contrast, the report cites recent research by the UK Energy Research Centre, showing that renewable energy and energy efficiency are a better bet than fossil fuels in terms of both money spent and power generated or saved.

They create over six times as many jobs as gas per unit of power generated or saved, and around three times as many jobs per pound of investment.

National debate

Despite David Cameron promising to go “all out for shale” and introducing a fund to encourage sustainable fracking, just nine wells – eight new and one existing – have been announced for 2015.

That meagre total may be politically motivated in election year, after Labour unveiled a popular proposal to ban fracking near vital underground water stores.

Likewise, north of the border, the Green party have called for a halt to drilling licenses being granted in Scotland after a Daily Record poll showed 45% of Scots oppose fracking and just 24% support it.

Readers’ poll

Sustainability professionals are even stronger in their opposition with 84% of edie readers saying they oppose unrestricted fracking in a recent poll, while just 6% supported it. Cast your VOTE below…

Brad Allen

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