ENGLISH councils which give the go-ahead to 'fracking' projects will be allowed to keep millions of pounds more in tax revenue, David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister said local authorities would receive 100% of the business rates collected from shale gas schemes - rather than the usual 50%.
The move, which comes ahead of confirmation today that French oil giant Total is investing in UK fracking exploration, is part of an "all out" drive to exploit the controversial pressure mining technique which the Government believes could generate billions of pounds for the economy.
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Shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said: "Gas will remain an important part of our energy mix in the future, and if shale gas can replace our rapidly depleting North Sea reserves it could help improve our energy security.
"It is right that any communities that host nationally significant energy infrastructure are able to share in its rewards.
"But the Government must get its priorities right. Only by fully addressing legitimate environmental and safety concerns about fracking with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring, will people have confidence that the exploration and possible extraction of shale gas is a safe and reliable source that can contribute to the UK's energy mix."
Mr Cameron said shale exploration would deliver "more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country", but environmentalists accused him of trying to "bribe hard pressed councils into accepting fracking in their area".
A spokesman for England's Local Government Association said that people and communities whose areas host fracking sites must "feel the benefit".