A NORTH Yorkshire MP has warned the full implications of fracking must be investigated before licences for exploration and drilling are given out.

Anne McIntosh, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, an area where deep shale gas has potentially been identified, is head of the influential Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee.

She said: "I am aware of the potential for shale gas locally and also of the lack of knowledge of the process of fracking and the impact on the environment.

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"It is my intention to raise these concerns when the House of Commons returns in September.

"The main concern is of the disruption caused to the local community and the possible impact on house prices as well as the quality of life."

Ms McIntosh was speaking after environmental campaign group Greenpeace revealed that a dozen drilling licences for shale gas have been issued to  companies in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

She continued: "People living near any potential site will be concerned about possible subsidence and other adverse consequences.

"These issues must be fully aired and discussed before any fracking exploration or licenses are issued to allay any concerns of local communities."

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, an area which also has potential shale gas deposits, said: “They have not proved the case yet for fracking in the UK, particularly in close proximity to where people live and while it may be an industrial area, Teesside is pretty compact.

“We need to make sure that the impact on the environment and on the water table is tried and tested before we allow anything to go ahead.”

Greenpeace has warned protests are inevitable over the controversial process.

The group has mapped out possible sites for exploration including areas in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

Sites in the North York Moors National Park around Malton and Pickering have been used for drilling for conventional gas reserves for more than 20 years.

Mark Hill, development officer for the North York Moors National Park, said three companies were involved but at conventional sites where the gas is only up to a 1,000 feet below the surface, where it is easier and cheaper to get. Deep shale gas which is extracted using the fracking process can be 5,000 feet down.

Mr Hill said: “We are keeping an eye on the situation but so far none of the companies are interested in the very deep shale gas.

"The issue with ordinary gas exploration is you can drill at a slight angle, but with fracking it is so deep it allows for horizontal drilling so any surface installation could be outside the area.”