Could Kirklees be in the fracking firing line?

Map shows part of Kirklees as 'prospective area' for extraction of oil and gas from fracking

British Geological Survey map into areas where there is potential for shale gas. Yellow shows areas that are licensed while blue areas with lines through highlight areas surveyed that could be used for fracking.

A survey has identified Kirklees for potential ‘fracking’.

It comes as the government opens the licence bidding process for the onshore exploration of oil and gas, with around half of the UK defined as prospective for the controversial energy extraction method.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) map shows part of Kirklees stretching from the Colne Valley to Emley and Denby Dale included in a shaded ‘prospective area’.

Parts of Calderdale, Wakefield, Barnsley and Derbyshire also feature on the BGS map.

Bids are now open for fracking licences, but applications for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will only be accepted in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”, the government said.

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.”

But they face a fight in Kirklees - in January Full Council voted in favour of a motion to form a policy should a fracking bid land at the council’s door.

A motion by Green Party councillors Andrew Cooper and Julie Stewart-Turner noted the negative impact of fracking and urged the council to seek funding to increase green projects. Since than Kirklees agreed to invest in solar panels for council housing.

A copy of the motion was sent to the government ministers responsible to state the council’s opposition stance.

Clr Andrew Cooper has previously said Yorkshire could be in the fracking “firing line” due to its history of coal mining.

Companies granted a licence from the government to begin test drilling will also need planning permission and environmental permits from the Environment Agency.

Previously the government has pledged that councils can keep 100% of the business rates from fracking operations instead of the usual 50%; they could get a £100,000 for each test drill and 1% of revenue if shale gas is discovered.

Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking as it is known – is the process of extracting gas from shale. It involves drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

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