The National Farmers’ Union has raised concerns over government plans to allow fracking to be carried out under farmland without compensation.
Farmers feel that their worries are being brushed aside by ministers keen to push on with shale gas exploration, says the group, and the support of rural communities should not be taken for granted.
The UK government has said that it will press ahead with new laws that allow fracking to be carried out deep underground without the permission of those that own the land above. It claims that gas and oil extractions should not impact on land at ground level and so no compensation is due to farmers in these areas.
However, the NFU says that its 47,000 members across England and Wales fear that the value of their land will plummet “because of current attitudes and perceptions of fracking,” whether or not any actual damage is caused by these activities.
Many farmers’ mortgages are closely tied to their land, says the NFU, meaning that “any reduction in the value of the land could have significant financial implications.”