Households could be handed £1,000 to consent to fracking in their area

The reported plan to pay local residents has been touted as a “cynical ploy likely to fail” by campaigners

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The government is allegedly drawing up a plan that could see residents living close to proposed fracking sites offered payments of up to £1,000 to give their consent.

A few weeks ago, the government formally lifted a ban on fracking for shale gas in England in a bid to boost and diversify the UK’s energy supplies.

According to the proposed plan, if the majority of local residents agree with gas wells being drilled near their homes, then the payments would be made to all members of the local community, even to those who had opposed the development.

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe event last week, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would welcome fracking in his back garden and suggested that companies planning fracking projects could go “door to door, as politicians do at elections and ask people if they would consent”.

Philip Evans, an Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Once again, the UK Government is resorting to naked bribes to foist an unpopular, unproven fracking industry on local communities.

“Jacob Rees-Mogg must be hoping he can buy off people’s concerns while they are struggling with the cost of living crisis – that’s a cynical ploy likely to fail.

“Community payments have been offered before and they did not change anyone’s mind. People don’t want the heavy traffic, noise and air pollution and even the risk of small earthquakes caused by fracking anywhere near their homes.

“Ministers should stop obsessing about fracking and focus on the tried-an-tested solutions like insulation and renewables that can bring down bills for households all around the UK.”

ELN contacted BEIS – the department did not respond before publication.