The 13 places where fracking firms have licences to drill in Sheffield

A large number of residents are against fracking in South YorkshireA large number of residents are against fracking in South Yorkshire
A large number of residents are against fracking in South Yorkshire
Sheffield Liberal Democrats have highlighted evidence which shows the city could face oil and gas exploration, including fracking.

The group looked at a map created by environment campaign Friends of the Earth, which shows the number of oil and gas extraction licences currently held by Parliamentary constituency.

Sheffield South East, whose MP is Clive Betts, has the highest number locally, with five licences held by Ineos Upstream Ltd. There are three in Hallam, two in Heeley and Brightside and Hillsborough, and one in Central.

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The decision to lift the ban represents a major u-turn for the Liz Truss government, said Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam, Laura Gordon. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng previously stated that gas drilling would not bring gas prices and energy bills down.

Laura Gordon said: “Oil and gas barons from around the world are queuing up to drill in South Yorkshire’s countryside and I fear local people will have no say in the matter whatsoever. I am urging Conservative MPs in South Yorkshire to stand up to their new Prime Minister and vote down these shameful new proposals.

“With so many people living in the affected areas, many people will also be worried about the risks of water pollution and earthquakes. And even the government admits this kind of drilling won’t bring down energy prices. With gas prices high due to Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine, we need to act quickly.

“It’s shameful of the Conservative government to use Ukraine as an excuse to enrich oil barons and rip up our countryside – instead of focusing on the renewable energy and home insulation that could keep people warm and guarantee our energy indepedence.”

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One of the party’s Mosborough councillors Gail Smith said: “We’ve visited this issue before – people across Sheffield don’t want fracking. Our position hasn’t changed and we remain on their side. The local Liberal Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail against the unnecessary ripping up of our green spaces and will continue campaigning for investment in green power to meet our energy needs.”

Labour councillors have also said they will do everything they can to fight fracking applications.

Mosborough Labour councillor Tony Downing said: “I want to reassure residents that Sheffield Council is completely, unequivocally, opposed to fracking. In 2016 Labour councillors made Sheffield the first local authority in country to ban fracking on council-owned land. We stand by this. We will also do everything we can to stop any applications on private land.

“It is outrageous that government are pushing ahead with this. Anyone who knows anything about shale gas extraction recognises that it will do absolutely nothing to cut bills. Gas prices are not set by domestic supply but by international fossil fuel markets so it will do nothing to lower our energy bills or increase our energy security.

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Transport and climate committee co-chair Coun Mazher Iqbal said: “We need to get Sheffield to net zero by 2030 and deliver the clean growth the city needs – to provide better housing, jobs, and a more sustainable environment. With fracking it’s also big unknown as to whether there is even much shale gas that can be extracted. What we do know is that it’s unsafe, ineffective and environmentally damaging.”