COUNTY bosses are keeping the door open for potential applications for the controversial fracking process.
Although no interest has been shown in extracting shale gas in Staffordshire the county council leader Philip Atkins said the authority would monitor the potentially lucrative community reward scheme which allows councils to keep 100 per cent of the business rates collected from the scheme, twice the amount they currently keep.
Government estimates put the potential income at £1.7 m a year for each site councils agree.
Councillor Atkins also said any application would be “carefully scrutinised.
“Staffordshire needs to see a credible local community reward scheme so that areas where shale gas extraction takes place can benefit from the resource. This industry is still in its infancy in this country and will take some time to develop. We will be monitoring this development closely and how the business rate retention works in other areas.
“There has to be the right balance between the needs of local communities and an industry which could create thousands of jobs nationally and provide a secure new energy source. While there is currently no active interest by any company to extract shale gas in Staffordshire, careful scrutiny would be given to any application on a case by case basis.”