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Prime Minister under fire over plans for controversial changes to fracking laws

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Prime Minister under fire over plans for controversial changes to fracking laws

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Theresa May has come under fire for suggesting controversial changes to fracking laws – which could see residents affected by fracking in their immediate community ‘bribed’ with shale fund ‘pay-outs’.

The news comes after May outlined plans to amend a £1billion shale wealth fund set up by former Chancellor George Osborne last year.

May suggested that the fund, which currently sets aside up to ten per cent of the tax proceeds from fracking to benefit UK communities hosting wells, should be amended in such a way that funds would be transferred to individual households, as opposed to local councils and trusts.

Numerous critics have accused the Prime Minister of attempting to ‘bribe’ householders to directly support fracking, after proposals unveiled today suggested that the Government would offer private households up to £20,000 each to back hydraulic fracturing in their area.

Green Party MEP, Molly Scott Cato, said: “Following hard on the heels of the Hinkley fiasco, this misguided policy to encourage fracking demonstrates again that the Government has no strategic energy policy.

She said that the ill-judged policy was likely to “exacerbate community tensions” and potentially divert cash away from the community priorities, such as skills training or infrastructure.

“It is also another worrying indication of the failure of commitment to tackle climate change, first demonstrated by May in her abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC),” she added.