Experts have reached a conclusion that north Essex’s countryside contains reserves of shale gas and oil, potentially paving the way for fracking operations.
The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), after engaging in consultations on licensing of onshore oil and gas ruled that the land mass covering Braintree and Uttlesford may contain shale oil and gas, reported the Essex Chronicle.
DECC arrived at the decision after four months of talks that ended in March, in what is its 14th time to issue licenses. This opens areas north of Sheering and Little Waltham, and west of Great Horkesley and Tiptree to bids from companies such as Cuadrilla, whose drilling in Balcombe in West Sussex sparked furious protests last year. The British Geological Survey selected the sites as Strategic Environmental Assessment Areas.
Energy companies can then tender for the exploration licenses after obtaining planning permits from local authorities.
The move has been opposed by anti-fracking campaigners and some politicians.
“The level of environmental damage that would be done is not simply natural gas, but all major roads in the area would see an increase in HGVs,” said Steve Collins, a Braintree resident and a campaigner with Friends of the Earth.”If Braintree became known as a fracking area no one would want to move there and it would become a ghost town.”
“The council does not believe there are exploitable deposits of shale gas in Essex as the British Geological Survey understands there is no prospect of either Jurassic or Carboniferous shale gas,” said an Essex County Council spokesman. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at firstname.lastname@example.org