Is the Church of England supporting fracking – and seeking to profit from the mineral rights?

The Financial Times says that the Church of England has signalled support for exploration of Britain’s shale gas reserves  – but has it?  Or are the articles in the Telegraph and the FT rather an insidious ‘hatchet job’ ?

A leaflet issued by the diocese of Blackburn this week warned that fracking in Lancashire risks harming “God’s glorious creation”.

However Philip Fletcher, who chairs the Church’s group on mission and public affairs, after stressing that the Church of England had no official policy either for or against fracking, went on to compare condemnation of fracking to the mistaken belief that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was not safe.

He said “blanket opposition” to shale gas ignored potential benefits such as energy self-sufficiency, job creation and alleviating fuel poverty.

The Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property

According to the Telegraph, residents across England have started receiving letters from the Land Registry, informing them that the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property.

A reader points out that right at the end of this long article there is a paragraph which corrects the impression that the Church is involved in some sort of gas/gold-rush:

“In a statement, the commissioners said the claims were caused by a change in the law in 2002 which sets a deadline for registering historic mineral rights. We would make clear that this is just a registration and protection exercise to protect existing rights and interests made vulnerable by the change in the law. There are no particular plans to mine under any property. The focus is registration and protection.” 

The FT also reminds us that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spent more than a decade working in the oil industry before joining the Church, adding that it is not clear if the statement reflected his personal views.

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Posted on August 17, 2013, in Conflict of interest, Government and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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