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Government hyping shale gas - Flint

The Government are wrongly building expectations about the benefits of shale gas and posing it as an alternative to renewable energy, Caroline Flint said today.

The shadow energy secretary said Labour was not opposed to shale gas extraction in Britain per se - but warned it was not yet known at what cost it could be produced.

Ms Flint said there were key environmental principles which had to be adhered to.

"What has worried me about the debate around shale gas, which the Government haven't helped with, is the hyping up of expectations of what it could deliver," Ms Flint told the Sky News Murnaghan programme.

"We know there is shale there but we don't know much it is going to cost to get it out of the ground and at potentially what environmental cost.

"We are not setting our face against it if the conditions are right and the environment is right but what we do disagree with is polarising shale against renewables that we need as well.

"I've spoken to some people in the shale gas sector and they are pretty hacked off with the way that has been polarised by George Osborne and this Government."

Ms Flint said the practicalities of shale gas extraction were different in Britain than elsewhere in world.

She added: " We've supported exploration in terms of shale gas alongside though some principles around the environment and concerns about how you can get this gas out of the ground.

"Let's be honest about it - we're not like where it takes place in America, in vast areas where nobody lives. We are talking about the north west of England, Sussex, other places where it is a different type of environment."

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