Fracking campaigners voice fears as Cuadrilla wins Yorkshire gas licences

Campaigners fear the PEDL licences is a precursor to frackingCampaigners fear the PEDL licences is a precursor to fracking
Campaigners fear the PEDL licences is a precursor to fracking
FRACKING firm Cuadrilla has been awarded licences to explore for oil and gas in two areas of Yorkshire.

The licences covering land south of Wetwang and north of Mexborough awarded to Cuadrilla are among seven set to be issued in West and South Yorkshire.

The Government will also consult over plans to issue further licences covering areas of land on the Yorkshire coast, parts of the North York Moors National Park and around York, Doncaster, Sheffield and Chesterfield.

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Companies holding PEDL licences have the exclusive rights to explore the area for oil and gas.

Anti-fracking campaigners fear the latest round of licences is a precursor to a wave of applications from energy firms to use the controversial mining method to extract gas trapped in shale rock.

Cuadrilla is the company behind plans to frack at two sites in Lancashire that were recently turned down by county councillors.

Chief executive Francis Egan said: “Whilst we continue to progress our shale gas exploration work in Lancashire, we welcome the potential for exploration in Yorkshire along with the associated benefits of new jobs and economic growth we believe it will bring. Our first priority will be to talk with local communities.

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“We recognise that some members of the public will have concerns and there continues to be a good deal of misinformation circulated regarding onshore shale exploration.”

Each PEDL licence covers an area of around 10 square kilometres.

The Government confirmed today it was ready to issue 27 across the country and was consulting on a further 132 blocks.

Energy Minister Lord Bourne said: “As part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies, we continue to back our onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the UK.

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“Keeping the lights on and powering the economy is not negotiable, and these industries will play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come.

“It’s important we press on and get shale moving, while maintaining strong environmental controls. Investment in shale could reach £33 billion and support 64,000 jobs creating financial security for hardworking people and their families, whilst providing a cost-efficient bridge to lower-carbon energy use.”

Exploration companies already hold PEDL licences in large parts of Yorkshire.

However, firms need further planning and environmental permissions before they carry out work on the ground.

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North Yorkshire County Council is currently considering an application from Third Energy to carry out test-fracking operations close to Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale.

A spokesman for the Frack Free Ryedale campaign group said: “News of new exploration licences all across Yorkshire - including much of the North York Moors National Park - will send shockwaves through many areas that have so far been free of the threat of fracking.

“The effect of widespread fracking across Yorkshire would have a huge impact on the lives of rural communities all across the county, as their lives become blighted by endless HGV traffic, noisy drilling, air pollution, health impacts and threats to their water supplies.

“The region’s core industries of agriculture and tourism are also under serious threat as the government attempts to green-light the industrialisation of the countryside across Yorkshire.”