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Greens rap Government 'bribery' over fracking

By Neil Lancefield

Ministers have been accused of bribing communities into accepting fracking under their land.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon announced proposals which would see voluntary payments of £20,000 per well.

The compensation would be distributed after consultation with local community groups, and would be in addition to one-off £100,000 payments in areas with fracking sites and a 1% share of profits made.

But Greenpeace declared that the "bungs and bulldozers approach" had caused a drop in support for the controversial process.

The Government proposals also feature new rules to simplify the granting of access for fracking.

They would see underground access for shale oil and gas developments allowed under 300 metres, which Mr Fallon claimed was deep enough to have "no negative impact on landowners or home owners".

But Greenpeace UK's Lawrence Carter said: "Dangling larger bribes in front of communities won't quell their deep concerns about fracking. People know very well you can't put a price on clean air and water, unspoilt countryside and a stable climate."

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