Fracking licences up for grabs

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 September 2015

Fracking could take place in the countryside (Picture: Simon Williams submitted to weston.iwitness24.co.uk)

Fracking could take place in the countryside (Picture: Simon Williams submitted to weston.iwitness24.co.uk)

(c) copyright citizenside.com

FRACKING could take place in Weston-super-Mare after blocks of land were offered to energy companies.

Licences for the controversial oil and gas extraction technique could be granted in areas including Weston, Hutton and Brean.

A block of land is a 10km by 10km area – and seven are being made available in North Somerset.

The Oil and Gas Authority announced 27 blocks of land across the country will be offered to energy and fracking companies.

A ‘potential zone of impact’ has been drawn around the land, showing the licences could have an effect on the areas surrounding the drilling.

The blocks also cover Special Protection Areas and a Special Area of Conservation in Weston.

Fracking is an industrial process where energy companies create a well by drilling into the ground before a water mixture is forced down at high pressure.

It creates cracks in the rocks, releasing shale gas which is then collected and used as an alternative energy source.

A spokesman for Frack Free Somerset, which opposes the licensing, said: “Frack Free Somerset is deeply concerned about the air pollution, water contamination, toxic and radioactive waste and health effects that affect the communities in which unconventional gas and oil extraction has been imposed.

“Members of Frack Free Somerset stand in solidarity with all communities affected by fracking, and will be working in close collaboration with people across the county.”

If granted a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL), companies can ‘search and bore for and get petroleum’.

A PEDL was granted to UK Methane in 2008 to give it exclusive rights to carry out exploratory gas and oil drilling in Weston. The licence was relinquished last year.

The blocks of land will be formally offered to companies in ‘due course’ according to the Oil and Gas Authority.

People can comment on the consultation process until September 29 by visiting www.gov.uk/government/consultations/habitats-regulations-assessments-of-14th-onshore-oil-and-gas-licensing-round

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