Cuadrilla are trying to claim today that fracking will result in a tourism boom for Lancashire.
They even shipped over a bombastic B&B battleaxe from Yorkshire to try to make their point for them.
However, it won’t.
How do we know?
Why because their planning expert witness told us just that at the Blackpool Inquiry last year (as reported on the Drill or Drop website).
Robin Green, the barrister for Roseacre residents, put it to Mr Smith: “You said it was possible jobs could be lost in the tourism sector but this was likely to be short-term. It was speculative and unquantifiable and linked to public perception of fracking.”
Mr Green asked why the impact on tourism jobs would be short-term.
Mr Smith said: “In the longer term, when the industry is established and people are aware of the actual impacts, tourism will recover.
He suggested that perceptions would change because the company had assessed the impacts of fracking to be minor and negligible.
Mr Green suggested:
“Come to Lancashire home of fracking that will have the tourists flocking”
He put it to Mr Smith:
“There is no evidence that the public are moving towards acceptance of fracking as an industry.”
Mr Smith replied
“I don’t have any evidence. There may be evidence but I don’t have the knowledge”.
Mr Green said:
“As a tourism draw, fracking is unlikely to be up there as draw.”
Mr Smith replied: “There is no evidence of fracking having an impact, I have not seen the evidence.
Even the government’s own most optimistic assessment of the impact of fracking on tourism is that it will be broadly neutral. Their conclusion is that losses from tourists avoiding the area due to shale gas operations may perhaps be off-set to an extent by increased hospitality to new workers.
If the US experience is indeed replicated here in Lancashire as Lancashire For S(h)ale suggest it will be, what we *can* expect to see are significant increases in employment for sex workers, drug pushers and policemen, along with an increase in STDs, car crashes, drug-related crimes, and sexual assault.
Fracking flares are really not going to be the new Blackpool Illuminations whatever Cuadrilla might want you to believe!