Conservative Party manifesto 2015 is first to back shale

Today, Tuesday 14 April 2015, saw the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto 2015 in which it says it will continue to support shale gas in Britain.

It is the first and only election manifesto to so far publicly support shale gas.

Altogether, shale gas gets three mentions in the Conservative Party manifesto 2015.

Talking about its record in government so far, it says that its tax cuts have encouraged “the birth of a new industry, shale gas, which could create many thousands of jobs.”

In its action plan to guarantee clean, affordable and secure energy supplies, it promises to continue supporting the safe development of shale gas, and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages.

It also commits to the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North.

Earlier in the week, the Labour Party launched its election manifesto.  It is less openly supportive of shale gas, mirroring the stance it has adopted for the last few years, saying only that “for onshore unconventional oil and gas, we will establish a robust environmental and regulatory regime before extraction can take place.”

Not surprisingly, the Green Party manifesto 2015, also launched today, says it would ban all UK fracking operations and withdraw all relevant licences as soon as possible.

Reacting to the latest manifesto developments, Lee Petts, chief executive at the OESG, said: “We’re pleased to see the Conservative Party pledge its continuing support for onshore oil and gas.  Whilst Labour hasn’t been quite as vocal in its backing, it’s clear that it too recognises the important potential of shale gas and other forms of energy extraction.

“It will be interesting to see what the Liberal Democrats have to say on this when they launch their 2015 election manifesto.  As Energy Secretary, Ed Davey has been very supportive of shale gas, even telling delegates at a reception hosted by the APPG on unconventional oil and gas that he ‘loves shale gas’, arguing that gas complements rather than displaces renewables, and that it is lower carbon than LNG imports.

“We would like to see more specific support pledged to help British SMEs to thrive in the onshore oil and gas supply chain, and would urge policy makers in the mainstream political parties that favour shale gas development to consider how, if forming the next government, they might help foster the conditions in which SMEs can succeed.”