Future fracking in Shropshire is a 'far-off prospect'

Fracking is unlikely to come to Shropshire in the immediate future, a campaigner has claimed.

Future fracking in Shropshire is a 'far-off prospect'

Chris Hesketh, of Frack Free Dudleston, said the process is unlikely to work in Shropshire due to the geology of the area.

He also warned any company submitting plans to extract gas in the area in the future should expect to face a fight from local residents.

It comes after fracking licences, including those covering Audlem, near Market Drayton, have been awarded to companies in the latest round held by the Government.

The new licences were announced by the Oil and Gas Authority, and those companies which have acquired the licences can apply to explore underground for oil and gas reserves.

In total, 93 licences were issued for companies to explore 159 blocks of land across the UK. It could pave the way for controversial hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, known as fracking.

Earlier this year group Frack Free Dudleston claimed victory in its fight against plans to operate an exploratory borehole to drill for coal-bed methane gas in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere.

Drilling for coal-bed methane is not the same as fracking, but many campaigners fear that the former opens the door to the latter.

The plans were originally submitted to Shropshire Council in September 2014 by Dart Energy. But after months without a decision, the energy company submitted an appeal in February. The case then went to the Government Planning Inspectorate before it was eventually withdrawn in July when Dart's licence with the landowner ended.

Mr Hesketh said: "Politicians' current obsession with futile technology doesn't make sense. We are still 50 per cent self-sufficient on gas.

"The Dudleston area was the only part of Shropshire that was included in the 13th round of drilling licenses. Almost all of Shropshire was offered as part of the latest 14th round. Interestingly, there were no takers for new coal-bed methane licences in Shropshire.

"They have to drill without passing through faults; that is why it is geologically unsuitable in Shropshire. They could drill for a year and get no closer to gas. People will be relieved to hear that at this stage it looks extremely unlikely that there will be any further applications for coal-bed methane extraction in Shropshire.

"It is wrong because it is not good for the climate, it is wrong for Shropshire because it won't work, it causes damage, hurts people's lives, creates air pollution, and takes chunks out of property values.

"I can't tell you if anyone is going to put in a planning application. But if a license is awarded applications could come in.

"Any applicants should expect a reaction from local communities.

"Public awareness is growing on this subject now and almost everybody who is aware of it, is against it."

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