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Want to know how fracking will affect you? Sorry, that’s a state secret!

Another week, another fracking fiasco. The Government has just published a report on the likely effects of the drilling on Britain’s countryside communities – including its possible impact on house prices – that is so heavily redacted it might instead be devoted to a military assessment of options for intervention in Iraq.

Rightly or wrongly, it can only raise suspicions in Middle Britain that ministers and the industry have a lot to hide on how fracking will affect its vital interests. And this would make it even harder for them to get the “social licence” of public support that they acknowledge will be essential if the exploration and exploitation of shale oil and gas is to succeed.

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