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Fracking 'good for energy security'
An environmental campaigner puts the final touches to his tent at the Reclaim the Power Action Camp near Balcombe in West Sussex
Hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas is "in the national purpose" and right for Britain's energy security, the chairman of Cuadrilla said.
Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, said the controversial extraction method should be pursued if it can be done safely.
He stressed that as much domestic resource should be explored as possible, saying it was more environmentally friendly than importing gas.
Lord Browne told the Sunday Telegraph: "This is about getting domestic resources. Domestic gas is more green than imported gas, and we need to explore as much domestic resource as we can.
"We need to be patient and very clear about what we want to do. It's a national purpose, it's right for our energy security, and, if done safely, we should pursue it."
Communities based near fracking sites will get financial benefits, including a 1% share of the revenues if the fracking succeeds, he added.
Lord Browne's comments come amid continuing protests near Balcombe, West Sussex, where Cuadrilla has halted exploratory drilling for oil.
After taking advice from Sussex Police, Cuadrilla temporarily suspended its drilling operation as up to 1,000 activists descend on Balcombe for the six-day Reclaim the Power protest, which began on Friday.
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood joined the activists outside the drill site on the camp's first day, saying fracking would store up trouble environmentally and financially.
More than 45 arrests have so far been made since the protests first sprang up in the West Sussex countryside three weeks ago. Of those, 33 have been charged with a range of offences, including Natalie Hynde, 30, the daughter of the Pretenders' singer Chrissie Hynde.