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HOT TOPICS IN EUROPE


Tuesday 08 November 2011

HOT TOPICS IN EUROPE

The latest edition of Europe & You is available to watch now - the programme which looks at the local issues and stories happening in Europe which affect us here in Britain.

Shale Gas

To some it’s a relatively untapped energy resource with big potential for Europe but to others it raises serious environmental concerns - shale gas is a controversial subject.

The US has led the way, with some estimating that shale gas could account for up to 50 per cent of total gas production in North America by 2020. Now countries this side of the Atlantic are showing an interest too.

Test drilling in the North West of England has found reserves of more than 200 trillion cubic feet while coal-reliant Poland too is exploring its own shale gas potential.

Earlier this year, however, France became the first country to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as its known. This is the process used to release the gas by fracturing rocks using high-pressured water, chemicals and sand.

A recent report concluded that fracking was the ‘highly probable’ cause of minor earthquakes.

So with Europe’s policymakers facing the question of how to keep our lights on in the coming years, could shale gas really be part of the answer?

Europe & You speaks with Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesman in Europe Chris Davies and Nick Grealy, whose website 'No Hot Air' advocates shale gas exploration.

EU Funding

With the European Commission’s proposals now out for the future of EU regional funding, Europe and You focuses on two parts of the UK which have together received billions from Brussels previously.

In Wales, the West and the Valleys look set to qualify for the highest level of European support again from 2014.

In Cornwall, it’s hoped figures yet to be released will show a stronger economy which no longer needs the top tier of EU aid. However Councillor Chris Ridgers, Cabinet Member for Regeneration from Cornwall Council says there are other sources of European funding that Cornwall could do more to explore.

It’s led some to ask whether previous cash from Europe could have been spent more effectively.

To watch the full programme, or look at the latest issues affecting your local area, click here.

Follow @yourmeps on Twitter for regular updates straight from the European Parliament.