MAJOR land-owning organisations in the region have refused to rule out whether they will allow fracking on their land in the future.

The National Trust, which owns 54,400 acres (220 sq km) of land in Yorkshire and the North-East, said it had a “presumption against” fracking on its land.

But the trust said if it was happy in the future that the environmental and visual impact of fracking would be negligible, it could revise that stance.

The Church of England, one of the biggest landowners in the country, has left its stance on shale gas ambiguous, saying it had “no policy” on fracking.

The church’s 2012 annual report stated it may shortly be “taking stakes in big infrastructure projects” in the UK.

It has just finishing registering its mineral rights with the Land Registry, to meet the registry’s deadline at the end of this month (October 2013).

But a church spokesman said registering mineral rights was a separate issue from fracking.

In a statement it said: “The Church of England has no official policy either for or against hydraulic fracturing (known as 'fracking'). However there is a danger of viewing fracking through a single issue lens and ignoring the wider considerations.”

The National Trust owns more than 250,000 hectares of countryside nationally. Part of its portfolio includes management of the heritage coast in North Yorkshire and the North-East, around Robin Hood’s Bay.

An official statement from the trust said: “Shale gas is a fossil fuel which may prove a fool’s gold and distract attention from a shift to renewable.

“Our position is a presumption against fracking on our land. It doesn’t mean that in time that won’t change – if the environmental and visual impacts are negligible and it is part of a strategy to move to a low carbon economy.”