Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison has launched a consultation into UK Government plans for a Shale Wealth Fund (SWF).

Up to 10% of tax revenues arising from shale gas production would be paid into the fund, which could be worth £1 billion over 25 years.

The cash would be donated to projects in areas in which shale gas is extracted.

Ellison said: “We’ve made safety and the environment our top priorities but we also want to ensure local people and communities see extra benefit, beyond the jobs and growth that the safe use of shale gas delivers.”

Environmentalists criticise proposals

Greenpeace UK Chief Scientist Doug Parr said: “The government has tried to sweeten the fracking pill with cash payments before, and it didn’t work.

“Over the past two years, public opposition has soared and support for shale has tanked.”

Tony Bosworth, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, added: “Local people won’t suddenly be bribed into accepting this unpopular practice, which poses risks to people and the environment.”

> Read the UK Government's announcement