Eric Ollerenshaw column: We need to tap into billions underneath our county

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP

Last week in Parliament I spoke in two debates on the issue of fracking. As many of you are probably aware, I am not totally against the idea of fracking.

But I continue to have reservations in regards to safety, especially for those who take their water directly from the water table and I have concerns about the level of compensation.

Although it has been announced that there will be a voluntary compensation scheme, I am still pushing for this to be made law and used in such a way that it brings additional benefits to our community long-term.

There are potential billions in gas underneath Lancashire and I want to see a good piece of those billions coming back to Lancashire and not just disappearing south in terms of profits and taxes.

As one local constituent said to me: “Eric, this gas has been down there millions of years; there can’t be harm in waiting a little bit longer. It will still be there when we want it.” Quite!

Locally I was delighted to co-host with our local Chamber of Commerce, an event here in Lancaster with internet giant Google.

Google have been operating their ‘juice bars’ around the country and kindly agreed to come and address local businesses here. The packed session concentrated on how to get the most out of the internet and was, in my mind, extremely useful.

With the UK currently No 1 in e-commerce and £120billion per annum being spent over the internet – over 8% of the GDP – internet trading is clearly the way ahead.

Finally, I was very pleased to attend a barbecue organised by Lancaster Loyne Rotary Club to raise money for the Lancaster and Morecambe MS Society, of which I am patron.

With the fantastic weather we have been having it was a great afternoon which raised much welcome funds for a very worthy cause. My thanks to all Rotarians for the work they do year in, year out to support charities.

If you are interested in the local rotary clubs please contact www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=1163.