Company offered licence to carry out fracking in Melton and Vale of Belvoir area

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Green Party members have vowed to campaign against fracking in Melton and the Vale of Belvoir after a licence was offered to a company to carry out the practice in this area.

Hutton Energy must now gain approval from the Environment Agency and Melton Council planners before starting to frack, which involves drilling deep into the ground and blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into shale rocks to release gas trapped inside.

The Melton permit, which covers an area of around 100 square kilometres, was one of 27 in the UK where licences were offered this week to private companies by the government’s Oil and Gas Authority.

Fracking is seen as a way of helping secure the nation’s future energy requirements but opponents warn it could significantly damage the environment.

Alastair McQuillan, who stood as parliamentary candidate for Rutland and Melton at this year’s General Election, said: “The Green Party are totally opposed to this and we will be campaigning against it happening in Melton.

“We believe it damages the environment and puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and if there is a leak in the well it could pollute watercourses.

“There is also evidence that it causes earthquakes as was the case in Blackpool a few years ago.”

The licence covering the Melton area, which has a code name of SK72, has been offered after thorough environmental assessments were carried out by government inspectors.

A spokesman for the Oil and Gas Authority said: “This is one of 27 licences for areas which have been found not to abut areas of environmental significance.

“The licence has been offered to Hutton Energy but it is subject to approval being gained from the Environment Agency and planning consent being obtained.

“A thorough assessment was carried out on the companies who were interested in taking up these licences.

“It is likely to be later in the year, around November, before any fracking is likely to be carried out if the neccesary approvals have been given.”

l What do you think? Are in favour or against the prospect of fracking in Melton and the Vale of Belvoir? Email your views and your reasons to christian.march@jpress.co.uk