#Fracking : Cameron Ignores Plea’s from “People About Environment and Health” and Bribe’s Council’s”
The prime minister said English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes – rather than the usual 50%.
In a visit to a Lincolnshire fracking site, he predicted the process could support 74,000 jobs and reduce bills.
But Greenpeace accused ministers of trying to “bribe councils”.
Mr Cameron’s announcement on business rates came as French company Total confirmed plans to invest about £30m to help drill two exploratory wells in Lincolnshire. It is the first major energy firm to invest in fracking in the UK.
But the process to extract it – called fracking, which is short for “hydraulic fracturing” – has led to protests, with environmentalists fearing the technique could cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.
On Monday protesters at the Barton Moss fracking facility in Greater Manchester climbed on to lorries entering the site.
But Mr Cameron argued that the UK had the “strongest environmental controls” and pledged: “Nothing would go ahead if there were environmental dangers.“
“Shale is important for our country,” he continued. “It could bring 74,000 jobs, over £3 billion of investment, give us cheaper energy for the future, and increase our energy security.
“I want us to get on board this change that is doing so much good and bringing so much benefit to North America. I want us to benefit from it here as well.”
Fracking involve’s drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.
Whitehall officials said the business rates commitment would mean councils keeping up to £1.7m extra a year from each fracking site.
Separately, the mining industry has pledged to give communities £100,000 for test drilling and a further 1% of the revenues if shale is discovered, they added.
Energy minister Michael Fallon said councils could benefit by up to “£10 million per well-head” if shale gas was successfully extracted in their communities, through the 1% levy on revenues.
“How fracking recovers natural gas from shale”
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said the announcement was a “step in the right direction” but any packages had to “fairly remunerate” those affected.
This is a naked attempt by the government to bribe hard-pressed councils into accepting fracking in their area.”
According to Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace
“One percent of gross revenues distributed locally is not good enough; returns should be more in line with payments across the rest of the world and be set at 10%,” a spokesman said. “The community benefits of fracking should be enshrined in law, so companies cannot withdraw them to the detriment of local people.”
Responding to the LGA’s call for 10% of revenues, Mr Fallon said: “This is something obviously the industry will keep under review.”
For Labour, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said it was right for communities to share in the potential rewards from shale gas, but he called on the government to “get its priorities right”.
Friends of the Earth’s Jane Thomas argued that the new policy “highlights the depth of local opposition to fracking and the desperate lengths ministers are prepared to go to try to overcome it”.
‘New North Sea’
Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace added: “Having had their claims that fracking will bring down energy bills and create jobs thoroughly discredited, the government is now resorting to straight up bribery to sell their deeply unpopular fracking policy.”
The Institute of Directors welcomed the move on business rates, with chief economist James Sproule arguing: “Investment from Total is a vote of long-term confidence in the UK shale industry, and is a welcome sign that the government is creating the conditions necessary to maximise the potential benefits of a new domestic energy source.
UKIP energy spokesman Roger Helmer warned that “all the financial benefits [of fracking] could be swallowed up by bureaucracy” and urged the government to create a sovereign wealth fund so that fracking profits “would ensure financial security for future generations”.
- Prime Minister promises financial boost for ‘fracking’ councils(coventrytelegraph.net)
- Anti-fracking protests fail to halt interest in shale gas(theguardian.com)
- Cameron promises fracking windfall for councils(channel4.com)
- David Cameron promises fracking tax boost for councils willing to approve projects(independent.co.uk)
- Cameron promises tax boost for councils that approve fracking projects – The Independent(independent.co.uk)
- ‘We’re going all out for shale,’ admits David Cameron(theguardian.com)
“There is a genuine choice for every country over how to respond. They can choose to see China’s rise as a threat or an opportunity. Britain’s answer is clear. We want to see China succeed,” continued Cameron.
Cameron’s push for an E.U.-China trade deal will irritate the European Commission, which is understood to be strongly opposed to such a move on the grounds that it risks flooding the bloc with cheap Chinese imports and comes as the bloc is embroiled in a dispute with Beijing over solar panel exports.
It is also likely to be seized upon by political opponents, as he has put a question mark over Britain’s continued membership of the 28-nation E.U. by promising Britons an in/out referendum on leaving the bloc if re-elected in 2015.
“I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive E.U.-China Free Trade Agreement,” Cameron wrote.
“And as I have on the E.U.-U.S. deal, so I will put my full political weight behind such a deal which could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year,” promised Cameron.
Cameron is expected to raise the subject in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday. His office said he was the first European leader to champion such a deal in this way.
He had already discussed the idea of an E.U.-China trade deal with other E.U. member states, it added. Such a deal would address services liberalization and better intellectual property rights protection.
Cameron told reporters on the plane to Beijing he was aware the idea was not universally popular among E.U. member states, but said it could be a chance to tackle Beijing on intellectual property rights and trading standards.
“It’ll be the normal thing in the EU which will be a discussion where there will be some skeptics. There will be some enthusiasts and I think the enthusiasts have the wind in our sails,” said Cameron.
British finance minister George Osborne opened the door to further Chinese investment in Britain during a visit to Beijing last month, during which he announced less stringent rules for Chinese banks operating in London in a push to make the British capital the main offshore hub for trading in China’s currency and bonds.
He also paved the way for Chinese investors to take majority stakes in future British nuclear plants.
A senior source in his office said before the trip that Britain had turned the page on a rift with China over Tibet, adding that Cameron had no plans to once again meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader-in-exile, after their meeting last year angered Beijing.
Asked on the plane whether he would be raising Tibet, Cameron was non-committal, but said nothing was “off limits” in Britain’s relationship with China.
As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Cameron said the two countries would also discuss Iran and North Korea.
Cameron visited a training academy for Jaguar Land Rover sales staff in Beijing on Monday to mark its official opening as the carmaker unveiled a deal worth 4.5 billion pounds to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company in China.
England’s Premier League is also expected to announce an agreement with the Chinese Super League to develop football in China and boost the Premier League’s profile.
The business delegation also includes Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. The company was drawn into a bribery case in China earlier this year which resulted in police detaining four Chinese GSK executives.
Peter Humphrey, a British man running a risk advisory group, was also detained and is still being held.
- Britain’s Cameron travels to Beijing to push EU-China trade agreement (panarmenian.net)
- Britain’s Cameron flies to Beijing, pushing EU-China trade deal – Reuters (topbreakingnews.info)
- Britain’s Cameron flies to Beijing, pushing EU-China trade deal (trust.org)
- UPDATE 2-Britain’s Cameron pushes EU-China trade deal in Beijing (xe.com)
The #Truth Behind Ethiopia’s Economic Miracle is Leaving Farmers Dispossessed in Favour of Productivity
Ethiopia‘s huge agricultural output has brought about an economic miracle for the nation. But inhabitants are being pushed out of their native land by foreign investors and have no share in the profits.
“When investors showed up we were told to pack up our things and go to the villages”, says Moot. Like thousands of other farmers he’s been relocated to an artificial village to make space for new foreign agricultural investments. The promise of social services, including schools and clinics, has not been fulfilled and fear of arrest paralyses the farmers. Government spokesmen defend the policy, arguing that “our population is spread all across the territory. We can’t give them care until they are grouped together”. But with Africa‘s most fertile land being rented well below international market price and little need for labour in the highly industrialised farmlands, traditional farmers are struggling for survival.
For downloads and more information visit:http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=66103&a…
Courtesy of : Wild Angle Productions
- Ethiopian Portraits (newsafrica.co.uk)
- Seeding Ethiopia’s Future Food Security (ipsnews.net)
- The private sector in horticulture and livestock: What Ethiopia could learn from Kenya (lives-ethiopia.org)
- Ethiopia After Meles Zenawi| Swedish Megazine (dhaamsaogeetti13.wordpress.com)
- Land Grabs in Africa (zdaneil.wordpress.com)
- Can Ethiopia Maintain Its Great Progress Toward Food Security? (foodsecuritysm.wordpress.com)
The report published today (31 October) reviews the potential health impacts of shale gas extraction.
This review of the scientific literature focusses on the potential impact of chemicals and radioactive material from all stages of shale gas extraction, including the fracturing (fracking) of shale.
As there is no commercial shale gas extraction in the UK, the draft report looks at information from countries where it is taking place.
Dr John Harrison, Director of PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said:
The currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to emissions associated with the shale gas extraction process are low if operations are properly run and regulated.
Where potential risks have been identified in other countries, the reported problems are typically due to operational failure.
Good on-site management and appropriate regulation of all aspects of exploratory drilling, gas capture as well as the use and storage of fracking fluid is essential to minimise the risks to the environment and health.
Most evidence from other countries suggests that any contamination of groundwater, if it occurs, is likely to be caused by leakage through the vertical borehole. Therefore good well construction and maintenance is essential to reduce the risks of ground water contamination.
Contamination of groundwater from the underground fracking process itself is unlikely because of the depth at which it occurs.
Dr Harrison said:
Professor John Newton, Chief Knowledge Officer at PHE, said:
The report makes a number of recommendations, including the need for environmental monitoring to provide a baseline ahead of shale gas extraction, so that any risks from the operation can be appropriately assessed.
Effective environmental monitoring in the vicinity of the extraction sites is also required during the development, production and post-production of shale gas wells.
In due course it will also be important to assess the broader public health impacts such as increased traffic, the impact of new infrastructure on the community and the effect of workers moving to fracking areas.
The draft report is being made available for comment for one month. PHEwill be pleased to be made aware of any peer-reviewed or published reports that are relevant to the findings or recommendations.
Notes to Editors
- Review of the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of shale gas extraction: Draft for Comment. See a copy of the draft report.
- Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe
- Shale gas: new fracking projects must pass environmental test, European Parliament says (sofiaglobe.com)
- Fracking alert: New York switches to shale gas (acenewsservices.com)
- Backing for fracking – George Osborne said he would “love” shale gas drilling to start in Britain (mirror.co.uk)
- Fracking benefits ‘outweigh any minimal impact’ (energylivenews.com)
Today, the UK will host the World Islamic Economic Forum. Delegations from more than 115 countries, including Oman will attend the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum – the first time it has been held outside the Muslim world.
Oman now has two Islamic banks and plans have been announced by three companies to launch takaful products. The Central Bank moved with impressive speed to establish the regulatory framework to enable the Islamic financial industry to take off in the Sultanate. It was a great privilege that the Lord Mayor of the City of London was the first senior visitor to Bank Nizwa after it opened for business in January and symbolic of the ties that have already been established between the Islamic finance industries of the Sultanate and the UK.
For me, WIEF London encapsulates the emergence of new economic ties between nations, religions and cultures . Some want investments that are managed in accordance with their faith. Others are, in the wake of the financial crisis, drawn by principles of balance, shared risk, fairness and transparency. While others still are attracted by the sheer potential of an industry worth around $1.85 trillion globally with growth rates of up to 15% per year. Whatever the draw, the buzz around Islamic and ethical finance continues to grow louder and stronger.
The UK, already home to the world’s financial and legal capital, is an increasingly important global player in Islamic Finance and its status, reach and competitive market makes the service it is able to offer truly unique.
Our expertise in Islamic Finance, where we have a growing number of banks, law firms and other service providers with a wealth of experience, is highly developed, and supported by an internationally renowned legal system and regulatory framework; a time-zone that is advantageous to doing businesses in the East and in the West; and thriving and cutting edge sectors as diverse as healthcare, education and smart cities.
As delegates will see this week, the UK is open for business and has the experience, the skills, the innovation, and the connections to overcome the challenges of the global, 24 hour market and make the most of every economic opportunity. It’s why we are rightly seen as a partner of choice and why this week’s WIEF will cement Britain’s position asthe leading Western country for Islamic finance.
Jamie Bowden British Ambassador