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The Government launched a Shale Wealth Fund consultation on 8 August, outlining options for direct payments to households affected by fracking.

Kim Hagen, senior energy campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), commented: “It is not just individual households at each fracking site that could face noise, dust, light and air pollution; people and businesses on surrounding lorry routes would be affected as well. Fracking would simply mean industrialisation of swathes of our precious countryside. Because of its wide-ranging impacts, it would be difficult in practice to draw the line as to who should and shouldn’t receive handouts. Rural businesses, particularly those reliant on tourism, could be hit hard even if they are some distance from any single site. The reputation of whole counties could become tainted by this unpopular form of energy.

“With public support for fracking plummeting, it appears the Government is desperate to pull a rabbit out of the hat to try to get shale gas out of the ground. It gives the impression the Government is trying to sway people with incentives, rather than giving them a real say in how energy is generated in their area.”