Shropshire MP Owen Paterson: Jobs at risk if fracking banned

A Shropshire MP said "real jobs" are at risk if access to shale gas is blocked in the UK.

Shropshire MP Owen Paterson: Jobs at risk if fracking banned

Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire made the claim while discussing Scotland's current moratorium on fracking – the controversial method of using water to fracture underground shale to release gas.

He said the USA had actually reduced carbon emissions while exploiting its own shale gas, and the nation's environment agency could not give him single example of water being polluted by the process on a recent visit.

"We would all be better off if we extracted gas ourselves," Mr Paterson said, but added the chance would be scuppered "if we in any way water down our regulations."

Mr Paterson, who was speaking during BBC Radio 4's Any Questions debate in Aberdeen last night, said the UK had a proud record in safe fossil fuel extraction.

"Here we are in Aberdeen where we have done it," he said.

On other issues, he said other party's debates over the scrapping of the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent were "all jolly interesting", but said: "Is there anyone in this hall who really thinks we would be safer if we didn't have nuclear weapons, and left Putin with nuclear weapons?"

Mr Paterson also said SNP should "get on with the day job" of running Scotland rather than raising the "exasperating" prospect of another referendum on Scottish independence.

He added the party should be careful what it wished for over a review of land ownership in Scotland, in case those who had invested in the landscape for generations decided to leave.

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