The construction and operational lifecycle of the GDF is expected to be 150+ years. The project could cost up to £20bn, with an additional economic package worth 100s of millions of pounds. Wherever a GDF is located, such a large scale infrastructure project will have a transformative long-term impact on the regional or local economy of the host community.
In resolving this long-term major environmental problem, we can create jobs and opportunities in the here and now. As the BBC found out when visiting Carlsbad in the US, a GDF provides stable economic activity immune to the ‘boom and bust’ economic cycles associated with most other industrial activity. Having such a regular, core income is key to developing a more diverse local economic base. As can be witnessed in industrial and science parks across the country, a single large facility can act as a catalyst for other private and public sector investment.
The economic benefits of a GDF have been recognised and welcomed by local authorities, business groups and Trades Unions. The GDF fits very well within the wider debate about economic development, e.g.:
However, the GDF is not just about jobs or new roads and railway lines. The GDF could bring a lot of ‘value add’ benefits, eg:
It is clear, while the economic opportunities are huge, they cannot be realised until a community feels confident that all their safety and other concerns about the GDF have been properly addressed.