Lancashire’s leaders have been warned the region could miss out on millions of pounds of investment if they do not act quickly on fracking.
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy has issued the warning following the announcement that Peel Gas and Oil intends to transform the Ocean Gateway – which includes the Port of Liverpool, Port of Salford and the Manchester Ship Canal – into a shale gas supply hub.
A decision on fracking on the Fylde Coast has been delayed further and further and all this could lead to Lancashire missing out on billions of pounds of investment
Shale World, the UK’s biggest shale gas conference, was told the move could create a £30bn boost to the cities’ economies and 13,000 jobs, making Liverpool the potential centre for fracking in the North.
Babs Murphy said: “If Lancashire’s policy makers and political leaders are not careful, when this goes ahead we will have all the fracking activity but only a fraction of the supply chain upside.
“A decision on fracking on the Fylde Coast has been delayed further and further and all this could lead to Lancashire missing out on billions of pounds of investment. Indeed we are still waiting for Lancashire County Council to bring it before the planning committee.
“The North and Western Lancashire Chamber, along with Cuadrilla and our colleagues in East Lancashire, has already established the Shale Gas Portal.
“This means local chamber members will be in pole position for future shale gas supply chain opportunities in the county. We did this early to ensure we don’t miss the chance for local firms to prepare themselves and develop relationships with Cuadrilla and their key suppliers. But a lot of this hard work will have been for nothing if the delay to fracking in this area continues for much longer.”
The National College for Onshore Oil and Gas is set to be headquartered in Blackpool and aims to make sure that, if fracking goes ahead on the Fylde, local people can have the chance to learn the skills necessary to win some of the jobs which may be created.
Anti-fracking campaigners however, say that the number of jobs created will be relatively few and the investment will not outweigh potential damage to the environment or industries such as farming and tourism.
Lancashire County Council is yet to announce a date to rule on planning permission by energy company Cuadrilla to frack at two sites on the Fylde.