The village of Balcombe (West Sussex) has recently become a national focal point for the campaign against fracking. When a private company attempted to start exploration in a site just outside the village, residents and environmental campaigners from further afield descended on the site to block the enterprise. The company insisted it was using conventional drilling techniques – it had not yet asked for or received permission to frack on the site – and that it had the permission required. But most of the locals were unmoved, convinced that fracking would be the end result. Days later the chief executive of the company claimed that protesters had sent him death threats. To speed up the commercial viability of shale gas developments and tackle local opposition, the Government is considering streamlining regulation and licensing, fine-tuning the tax regime, and improving compensation to the local communities affected. Ensuring that these communities share in the benefits of development goes with the grain of our work with the LSE Growth Commission. But this work also suggested that financial compensation and traditional forms of consultation are not enough to tackle communities’ concerns about the effects of development. A growing body of evidence indicates that opposition […]

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