Somerset homeowners who are affected by fracking could receive up to £10,000 from shale gas projects as the government looks to counter resistance to the controversial gas extraction process.
Furthermore, the plans could be expanded to give home and landowners payments to those affected by property developments. At present, there are nine fracking licences issued in Somerset.
The licenses range from just inside the Exmoor National Park, near Minehead, across the north section of the Quantock Hills’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, around Burnham and Highbridge and into the Somerset Levels, and north up to Weston-super-Mare and right to the edge of Clevedon.
A further block of four individual licences have been granted for East Somerset and West Wilshere, which will cover the area from the edge of Frome and will include Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster, and running north to Bradford on Avon.
The government has set aside a shale wealth fund, with up to 10% of tax proceeds from fracking designated for communities in the UK hostin wells.
Prime Minister Theresa May is now debating whether to pay the money directly to individual households rather than local trusts and councils.
The new fund is expected to deliver up to £10 million to each community that has wells sited, though the government has not announced the exact figure that will be potentially available to individual households, although it is thought that the figure could be up to £10,000 each.
It is hoped that this change will help appease residents who are resistant to the fracking process in their area, although it is likely to be described as a ‘bribe’ by sceptics.
Mrs May said: “The Government I lead will be always be driven by the interests of the many ordinary families for whom life is harder than many people in politics realise.”