South Downs National Park to be ‘protected’ from fracking

Anti-fracking groups SUS-140404-162711001

Anti-fracking groups SUS-140404-162711001

Have your say

MINISTERS are set to announce new guidelines which will only allow fracking in national parks under ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The government has launched a new bidding round for licences which covers around half of the UK.

But companies applying to frack near National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites face tightened restrictions.

However the guidelines stop short of a total ban, with Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock saying it would be “irresponsible” not to explore the possibilities that shale offers.

But, he added the new measures “will protect Britain’s great national parks and outstanding landscapes”.

As well as acquiring a licence, any company wishing to drill near a protected site will be required to submit a detailed Statement of Environmental Awareness to demonstrate their understanding of the environmental sensitivities.

For the full story and reaction to the guidelines, see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (July 31).