Half Of Britain To Be Offered For Shale Gas Drilling As Fracking Areas Face 50 Trucks Passing Each Day

  • Date: 17/12/13
  • Emily Gosden, Daily Telegraph

Ministers “stepping up the search for shale” with new exploration rights to be offered to fracking firms next summer.

Ministers will offer fracking companies rights to drill across more than 37,000 square miles of land – almost half of Britain – as they “step up the search for shale” gas and oil.

Under plans unveiled earlier areas from central Scotland down to the south coast of England will be opened up in a “licensing round” next summer.

Communities near fracking sites could see a huge increase in traffic, with HGV trucks coming and going to each site up to 51 times each day for several years, according to an independent assessment by consultants Amec.

Energy minister Michael Fallon said that shale was “an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security”.

Fracking involved pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground to extract pockets of gas trapped within rocks. Opponents fear disruption and environmental damage.

So far companies have rights to drill in 176 licences spanning a 7,300 square mile area of Britain. A licence alone does not allow companies to drill as they also need a series of planning and environmental permits.

Government officials say they do not expect companies will actually want to claim rights to most of the 37,000 square mile that are being offered.

Full story