Green report slams fracking job claims

Jobs doubt: Helen Rimmer of Friends of the Earth
Jobs doubt: Helen Rimmer of Friends of the Earth

Claims that fracking could generate thousands of local jobs if given the go ahead on the Fylde have been blasted by campaigners.

A new report from Friends of the Earth, supported by PCS Union and North West trades councils, says that industry claims about job creation from fracking are overstated, and that any jobs boom would be short-lived.

The report also claims that investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create more jobs than investment in fossil fuels.

They say the report most often quoted by the shale industry is wrong, as it claims job creation would be over twice as high as that actually seen in the US.

The report also says that Cuadrilla’s claims that shale gas production would create 1,700 jobs in Lancashire would be for one year only, and job numbers would fall to under 200 three years afterwards.

And it says Cuadrilla’s proposed exploration at Roseacre and Preston New Road, would create only 11 jobs each if Lancashire County Council gives them the go ahead next week.

By contrast they say energy saving measures in our existing aged housing stock and in businesses is labour intensive and together with exploiting the region’s huge renewable energy potential, could support another 24,000 jobs.

Friends of the Earth’s Helen Rimmer said:“The North West has world-class renewable resources and investment should focus on clean energy technologies such as tidal, solar and offshore wind, and energy efficiency – which tackle climate change and create more jobs than over-hyped fracking.

“Lancashire County Council should reject Cuadrilla’s fracking plans and support energy solutions which will create more jobs without risking the county’s environment, local economy and communities”.

Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of Public and Commercial Services Union said: “PCS welcome this important report from Friends of the Earth. We were told fracking would be a game changer driving down our energy bills, claims not even Lord Browne, chairman of Cuadrilla believes. Now we’re told the dash for gas is about energy security and jobs.

“As this report shows, the arguments do not stack up in the face of the evidence and PCS is clear that investment in climate jobs, helping to reduce carbon emissions, is vital if we are to seriously address interrelated economic, energy and environmental concerns.”

But the report has been slammed by groups which support fracking.

Ken Cronin of industry body UKOOG said they stand by their job creation figures of up to 64,000 jobs and he added that jobs in renewables and jobs in shale should not be an either or scenario.

He said the onshore job creation figures in the UK are borne out by the experience of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, which is responsible for over 450,000 jobs.

He said: “The experience from other countries is we can work together, create jobs and reduce emissions and also create an independent secure energy environment.”

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Last week the Lancashire chambers launched our supply chain portal for the shale gas industry and over 200 local businesses signed-up in the first 24 hours.

“Many of these businesses can also service the renewables sector so it’s simply not sensible to say either we do shale or we do renewables.”