Companies have been given permission to explore and drill for hydrocarbons in areas of Redcar and Stockton.
A Stockton councillor has now spoken out over his concerns over fracking, adding the Government should incentivise “long-term solutions” not “unproven methods”.
It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced that English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes – rather than the usual 50%.
According to the BBC, Whitehall officials say this would mean councils keeping up to £1.7m extra a year from each fracking site.
A map compiled by data scientist Gianfranco Cecconi using data from the Government shows that a licence has been granted to an area stretching east of Middlesbrough to the western edge of Redcar covering South Bank, Grangetown and north of the River Tees.
These licences grant the power to “search and bore for and get” the Crown’s resources, such as oil and gas.
Fracking, which involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside, has been criticised by some as it can cause small earth tremors and uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the site.
Councillor David Rose, Stockton Council's Cabinet member for environment, said he believes there are “unresolved questions” about the environmental impacts and economic benefits.
He added: “I would prefer the Government incentivised long-term solutions to the security and affordability of energy, not short-term, unproven methods.
“The types of financial incentives suggested – as usual with no real detail – by the government pale by comparison to the £54m annual funding they are cutting from Stockton Council’s budget.”
Redcar Council says it has not yet received any inquiries from energy companies for exploratory operations.
Christopher Massey, the council’s Cabinet member for environment and rural affairs, said that before any exploration, planning permission has to be granted by the local authority.
He added: “It is not known if the fracking technique would be required and it may be that our local gas resources could be mined by more conventional means.”
Article taken from Gazette Live: