East Cleveland MP Ian Swales accuses Greenpeace of scare stories over fracking sites (From The Northern Echo)
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Site in Redcar is natural gas field, not shale, says Ian Swales MP
AN MP has accused Greenpeace of peddling “scare stories” about possible fracking sites in the region.
Greenpeace this week mapped the areas of Britain which it said were covered by licences for possible shale gas extraction granted by the Department for Energy and Climate change.
One of the areas covered in the map was the East Cleveland, East Middlesbrough and some of the Stockton North area, leading to fears this could be mined for controversial shale gas in the future.
But the licence relates to a natural gas field which lies beneath land at Kirkleatham Business Park, near Redcar, not shale gas, and would not require fracking to release it.
A spokesman for Egdon, the company which holds the licence, and which does have potential fracking interests in other areas, said: “I can confirm that we currently have no plans for any hydraulic fracture operations in PEDL068 (the area covered by the licence).
“The exploration and production activity that Egdon operate in the area is for conventional gas at Kirkleatham and Westerdale.”
Tonight. Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar Ian Swales said: “I am well aware of the controversy around potential fracking operations. However, it is regrettable that scare stories have emerged about areas where fracking is not proposed.
“Fracking as a technology is not appropriate under areas that are already developed for housing or industry and the gas field identified on the map is mainly under existing developments.
“Fracking is only appropriate where the geology is right and you are removed from centres of population. We don’t even have hard evidence that the geology is there in Teesside.”
But Greenpeace said its map just showed where drilling licences had been issued, and where there was potential for shale gas drilling.
A Greenpeace spokeswoman said: “If Ian Swales MP is confirming that his constituency is not going to be fracked then that is great news for his constituents and for the climate.
“We hope that revealing this data, sourced from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, will encourage similar clarity from MPs across the country.
“So far we've had little to go on. When a licence overlaps with an area that holds potential shale resources and when it is held by a firm with an interest in shale gas exploration, that area is at risk of fracking.”
She said the GTovernment had provided little information on its new fracking plan.
Fracking is controversial and involves underground rock deposits being blasted with water to release gas within the shale rock. There are concerns over groundwater contamination and toxic air near sites.
Although licences can apply to unconventional gas, any application to drill for shale would have to pass planning and regulatorty tests before final approval was given by the Department, officials have said.
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