A farm in the UK will have to pay over $17 million USD for natural gas over the next year, which could potentially put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk in the country and the rest of Europe.
Around 1% of the world’s farmers are being asked to pay
Stricter global gas supplies are causing market prices for gas and electricity in the UK to skyrocket at rates not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis. For example, National Grid predicts that wholesale prices in the first quarter of 2017 will rise by 52%. (1) With stricter regulations on hydraulic fracturing due to shale gas discoveries that led up to its popularity worldwide (2), oil prices have now reached a three-year high. This has meant that over half a million homes could have their supply restricted or cut off altogether from their natural gas suppliers this winter. (3) Prices are expected to stabilize this spring but will go up again in the following months because there is no certainty that global supplies will be fixed soon enough.
The figure relates to a small group who own land which is fracked
One family farm in the UK faces a £15 million ($19.8 million) bill for its use of natural gas with many more expected to face huge rises in energy costs. In a bid to reduce carbon emissions and move towards greener sources of energy, the British government has been attempting to transition towards renewable fuels but this is difficult as we are currently reliant on imports and domestic production. Laudable as these aims may be they threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs by making it increasingly expensive to operate industries that need gas-based power.
Fracking involves drilling under the ground and releasing natural gas into the atmosphere
The United Kingdom just approved fracking and there are huge energy costs. Fracking will lead to more oil extraction and also means fossil fuels will be burned as opposed to electric power. Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide which is linked with climate change. All this results in a heating of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Sea levels are already rising while some towns have begun flooding with higher frequency. So besides having potentially unsafe drinking water, the UK could have flooding problems on their hands which would have devastating economic impacts on many businesses in the region and endanger hundreds of thousands jobs
The companies involved have been accused of trying to make up the rules as they go along
The owner of the farm has accused energy firms of creating the problem with high prices and low demand. This has been caused by poor management from National Grid and Transco. According to National Grid’s website it was largely because of a drop in demand as people try to lower their bills in these challenging economic times. But Jonathan Marshall said: It is clear that this charge is being levied on farms because there are few other uses for gas. It would not be levied on livestock farmers, or pig farmers for example.
There are no definite figures yet but it could affect around 15,000 English landowners
Throughout the UK, from office buildings and homes to large factories and farms, energy costs have been rising steadily over the past few years. These costs have risen by over 40% since 2015. And these increased prices are taking a toll on small businesses such as English farm owner in South Cambridgeshire whose annual gas bill could jump from £3k ($4.8k) to £11k (£14k). And with new policies coming into place that encourage renewable energy over fossil fuels, large-scale industrial plants such as power stations or farm holdings will be under even more pressure. For small business owners across England who are bearing the brunt of higher bills now and with even higher ones coming soon (second sentence), this is nothing less than catastrophic.
These landowners use mostly poor farmers who lease their land from local councils or government agencies
Farmers who lease their land are in a much more precarious position. They may have no choice but to sell off their farm’s livestock, eggs and produce at far below market value just to keep running. We are trying our best but with these astronomical costs there is not much we can do, one farmer said. For the price we get on the food that’s grown here they should be paying us! The UK government has started up several national food-growing initiatives aimed at improving economic growth and promoting independence from foreign imports – but it won’t be enough if energy prices continue shooting skyward and hitting growers where it hurts most – in the pocketbook.
Many people think that fracking can cause tremors and health problems such as cancer
Recent research has shown that fracking causes about 10% of all earthquakes in the central US. This has proven so problematic that many communities have halted hydraulic fracturing due to concerns over their health and safety. This is a huge problem because these communities are some of the poorest in the nation, which leaves them reliant on energy jobs. In the UK over 70 towns or villages near shale gas exploration sites have made petitions against fracking citing the risk it poses as well as its contribution to climate change. There’s currently no easy solution because solar and wind power cost too much and renewables create their own pollution.
I would like you to tell me your thoughts on this matter. Do you agree with fracking?
- I do not agree with fracking because it does more harm than good. Allowing this practice will increase environmental hazards and causes more water contamination.
- I think that the farmers should be on board with paying this bill because in the long run it will help them. But if they are not going to be affected then they shouldn’t have to pay anything.
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Terrifying is the best word I can use to describe this news story. It doesn’t mention exactly how much the increase in natural gas prices is (unless I’m reading it wrong), but $17 million sounds like a lot. This farm’s bill will be higher than what they’re paying now, which sounds like an unfathomable expense that this business can’t take on. Sadly, I fear that this means many jobs will be lost and there will be no way to counter act against it. A few farmers are saying that there is a silver lining, as the