David Cameron: 'Back fracking or miss opportunities'
Prime Minister David Cameron has today urged the UK to back the controversial practice of 'fracking' or risk missing out on the opportunities associated with shale gas.
Writing for the Telegraph, Cameron said that if the country does not back the technology, the UK will miss a "massive opportunity" to help families with their bills and make the country more competitive.
"Without [fracking], we could lose ground in the tough global race," he adds.
The Prime Minister criticised the "myths" associated with fracking and stressed that the technology has "real potential" to drive energy bills down, create jobs and bring money to local neighbourhoods.
Cameron's statement follows days of protest at Balcombe in West Sussex, where energy company Caudrilla has been drilling a 3,000 ft well to release shale gas.
While many argue that the environmental impact of fracking has not been fully investigated, Cameron aimed to reassure the British public, stressing that international evidence shows there is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated.
"The regulatory system in this country is one of the most stringent in the world. If any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down," he wrote in the Telegraph.
However, the Prime Minister's statement has been heavily criticised by green groups, who have disputed the potential opportunities of the technology.
Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: "David Cameron's case for fracking simply doesn't add up - there's plenty of expert evidence that fracking in Britain won't lead to cheaper fuel bills.
"Communities across the UK are rightly concerned about the impact of fracking. It poses a real threat to their environment and quality of life and will keep the nation hooked on dirty fossil fuels.
"This country has some of the best renewable energy resources on the planet. The PM should stop over-hyping fracking and get on with the job of reaping the huge economic benefits of being at the forefront of a clean industrial revolution," he added.