Fracking will be “good for our country”, David Cameron said as he blamed a “lack of understanding” about the process for some of the opposition to shale gas.
The prime minister said that once wells are up and running later this year, there would be more public enthusiasm, and exploiting shale gas reserves could help Europe wean itself off reliance on exports from Russia.
The Ukraine crisis has increased the urgency of European efforts to find alternative sources of energy to reduce the leverage Russia’s oil and gas supplies give it across the continent.
Speaking after the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Cameron said it was “our duty” to be more energy-independent, saying it should be a “tier one” political issue. He acknowledged people had “uncertainties and worries and concerns” about hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – which involves using high-pressure jets of water to release gas.