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Former Environment Agency head to lead independent fracking task force

Lord Chris Smith will lead a new ‘independent’ task force, funded by shale gas companies, to look into the risks and benefits of fracking in the UK, the Guardian has reported.

The risks and benefits of fracking for the UK are to be examined by an “independent” task force, led by the former head of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, and funded by shale gas companies.

An initial £650,000 of funding for the task force has been provided by fracking companies, including Cuadrilla, Centrica and Total.

The task force hopes to find other sources to provide another £650,000 to allow completion of a report in 2016.

Smith said the new task force would look at aspects not covered by earlier academic work, including impacts like noise on local communities and wider economic and climate issues.

The two other members of the task force are Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, a Conservative member of the House of Lords and Professor Ernest Rutter, a geologist at the University of Manchester.

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