GAZETTE OPINION: If done right, it could put the region at the forefront

Environmentalists in Alnwick were right to hold a meeting to find out more about proposals to extract gas from deep beneath the sea off the Northumberland coast.

Particularly in relation to our sensitive and stunning area of outstanding natural beauty, any kind of environmental damage would be unforgiveable.

But every coin has two sides and if done properly, with the minimal impact that the team of world-leading experts has promised, it could prove a massive boost to the region’s economy.

Hundreds of jobs are expected in the next five or so years if the plans get the go-ahead and many would be skilled, long-term jobs, enabling the North East to be at the forefront of a new industry.

While Five-Quarter has not said exactly where the plant will be based, smart money would look at the industrial areas somewhere from Lynemouth to Blyth – that’s not a long way to commute for residents from north Northumberland.

Who knows, this could be the start of a rejuvenation of the North East’s proud mining heritage.