Perilous to ignore shale

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THE recent crisis in the Ukraine that last week saw Russian soldiers and sailors take control of large sections the Crimean peninsula is none of our business and we would do best to steer clear of inflaming what is already a delicate, yet volatile situation.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that Russia is one of the biggest exporters of gas in the world and activity in Southern Ukraine has pushed wholesale prices up in the past week. While the UK and much of Western Europe do not buy gas from Russia, a reduction of global supply brought about by the threat of sanctions will sooner or later affect energy bills back home.

The US are in a position to threaten sanctions of Russia simply because in the last 10 years or so they have invested heavily in shale gas and therefore no longer need Russian gas. The US are a net exporter of gas so chances are, they may even benefit from a tightening of global gas supplies.

Sadly, here in the UK, the green lobby would rather plunge more pensioners and low income households into fuel poverty by objecting to the development of shale gas sites that would also provide a much needed financial boost to cash strapped councils.

I hope that when the next gas crisis hits, be it in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, the UK will, thanks to shale, be insulated from global energy price hikes.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP