“I think it’s completely ridiculous. I think landowners and householders have rights to diamonds and titanium or something like that and other precious metals but not to hydrocarbons.
“That is in my view why there is a huge fracking revolution going on in America and there isn’t one over here because there is absolutely no incentive for the householder or the property holder to get on and do it.
“It’s all taken by the state and there is no motive to get going… that is the change that needs to be brought into the law to give people the rights to the stuff that exists beneath their property.”
The British Geological Survey has estimated that there are 4.4bn barrels of shale oil in the Weald Basin just south of London
The Department for Energy and Climate Change said that precious metals (gold and silver) are mostly in private ownership in Great Britain – with the exception of energy minerals (oil, gas and coal).
A DECC spokesman said: “It’s only fair that the whole community ‘share the financial benefits of shale exploration. “Industry has committed to giving communities £100,000 for every exploratory shale well-site where there is fracking – whether they manage to get any gas out or not – and local people will receive one per cent of the revenue from any of the gas found.
“Shale gas has got great potential to create jobs, bolster local economies as well as giving us a secure, domestic energy resource.”