Could fracking exploration come to Lincolnshire?

Protests have been held elsewhere in the country against fracking.
Protests have been held elsewhere in the country against fracking.
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Fracking could be on its way to the Skegness coastline and other areas in Lincolnshire.

The Government has granted licences which effectively give the go-ahead to explore for possible fracking operations at sites across Lincolnshire.

However, Coun Chris Pain, who attended the Lincolnshire County Council seminar last year where Government experts outlined their plans, said he was shocked licences had been granted in the area after being told sites being looked at were north of the county and around Gainsborough.

Fracking refers to the method used to extract gas or oil from shale rock by injecting large volumes of water containing a number of additives.

Nine of the licences include north of Skegness and areas of the Lincolnshire Wolds, stretching to East Kirkby and Spilsby. The licences apply to blocks of land which are roughly 10km square.

Coun Pain said: “I’m on the fence over this. I’ve nothing against fracking if it is safe. But I was told because of the geology of our area it would not be considered.

“It looks like it’s going to be pushed through by the Government, but I do intend to bring it up at the next Environmental Scrutiny Committee meeting on January 29.”

There is speculation other sites - closer to Louth and Horncastle - could eventually be included. The Bardney proposal features part of the Limewoods National Nature Reserve - a site of Special Scientific Interest.

Greenpeace has already condemned the licences, accusing the Government of going back on a promise of not allowing fracking at protected sites - including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

Campaign group Friends of the Earth has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to listen to local people.

Spokesman Chris Grean said: “Increasing evidence on the health and environmental impacts of fracking is emerging. He (David Cameron) needs to understand that local communities are rejecting fracking and demanding clean energy.”

When the bidding process for companies seeking licences to explore for onshore oil and gas was opened in 2014, former Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Unlocking shale gas in Britain has the potential to provide us with greater energy security, jobs and growth. We must act carefully, minimising risks, to explore how much of our large resource can be recovered to give the UK a new home-grown source of 
energy.

“As one of the cleanest fossil fuels, shale gas can be a key part of the UK’s answer to climate change and a bridge to a much greener future.”