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Communities around shale gas fracking sites could suffer congestion and lower house prices, according to a draft report published by the government.A shale gas fracking rig

A shale gas fracking rig

The Draft Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts paper also warns of the impact from fracking on tranquillity and air quality for those close to shale gas extraction facilities.

The unfinished internal paper was released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) following a ruling by the Information Commissioner after campaigners sought its publication in unredacted form.

The government has publicly courted shale gas exploration but the activity has remained controversial. Lancashire County Council last month rejected two fracking applications by energy firm Cuadrilla, variously citing impacts on local roads, the landscape and noise levels.

The draft DEFRA report said of fracking: “House prices in close proximity to the drilling operations are likely to fall. However, rents may increase due to additional demand from site workers and the supply chain.”

It added that there would be noise impact on “rural communities living within close proximity of shale gas fracking operations”.

The consequences on water resources, air quality and landscape would be “low impact” according to the report, but in some cases would need to be managed.

Recommendations in the draft report included ensuring adequate provision of local infrastructure to serve fracking sites, along with routine monitoring of noise, congestion, air quality and other variables.

DEFRA said in a statement that the paper “is an early draft of an internal document; it is not analytically robust. Work on it has since been discontinued.

“The draft paper was intended as a review of existing literature. It includes early, often vague, assumptions which are not supported by appropriate evidence. These were never intended as considered DEFRA positions or as statements of fact.”

SOURCE – http://www.planningresource.co.uk/

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