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Does shale gas get your vote?

I’ve heard a great deal of discussion about the potential use of shale gas in the UK since the discovery of significant reserves in the North-west.

Environmental impact is the major concern in the use of fracking to extract the gas. MEPs rejected a call to ban new operations in the EU last week, but member states have been warned to exercise caution.

Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil is the most high-profile supporter of developing shale gas that I’ve heard to date.

At the recent BSRIA Briefing 2012 he avoided the environmental issues, emphasising instead the economic benefits experienced by the US, including cheap energy, business growth and increased employment.

The use of shale gas will, of course, create carbon emissions. Mr Neil’s argument is that these will be less than those created by oil or coal. The use of the latter has seen an increase due to a drop in price.

Many in the industry would like to see increased uptake of renewable energy, of course, which would see prices drop through economies of scale and increase the momentum.

While the arguments make sense, expectations have not been met as yet.

So my question is: should the UK proceed with developing its use of shale gas while continuing to urge the government to increase its support for energy-efficient technology in all its various forms?

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