WEST Lancashire Council could receive 100% of the business rates instead of the usual 50% if it approves government proposed fracking sites – including Banks’ Cuadrilla operation.
Cuadrilla also announced a £100,000 agreement with the Community Foundation for Lancashire on Monday which will run a pilot scheme managing community benefit funds at Cuadrilla sites.
The payment will be paid by Cuadrilla for each exploration wellhead where hydraulic fracturing takes place.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said: “The Community Foundation for Lancashire is an excellent partner with a strong track record of working with communities to help identify appropriate causes and means of disseminating these community funds.
“We are committed to being a good neighbour and it will be for local people to decide for themselves, with the help of the Community Foundation, how this money will be spent.”
Opponents of the controversial procedure have described the two initiatives as a “bribe” to get councils to approve drilling.
Lawrence Carter, Greenpeace's climate campaigner, said: “The UK government seem deaf to the risks fracking poses to our environment and local communities and are pushing ahead with selling off two-thirds of Britain for drilling without a public mandate."
However, Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire Borough Council have said it is still too early to say what the impact of the fracking industry could be on the community.
Lancashire County Council leader Jennifer Mein said: "There is a considerable level of interest in developing Lancashire's shale gas reserves.
“It's vital that any commercial proposals put forward in future demonstrate the maximum economic benefit to communities across Lancashire."
A West Lancashire Borough Council spokesman said: “The borough council currently collects all business rates in the borough and keeps 40%. We have not been informed of all the details of the Government’s proposals on this issue so it is too early to comment on exactly how the council may benefit from this initiative in the event that a planning application for shale gas is submitted, approved and implemented.”