PLANNING bosses have not received any applications to extract shale gas in and around Chester.
Cheshire West and Chester Council yesterday moved to clarify the situation following residents’ concerns over conflicting reports on possible fracking at five locations in and around Chester.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for the economy, emphasised that the authority had not received applications to extract shale gas.
At Ince Marshes, exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane had revealed the presence of shale but no application has been received by the council for permission to extract.
At Milton Green/Chilton exploratory drilling took place in 1965 but no application has been received since then and the site was restored.
And similarly, in 1985, drilling took place at the Blacon East site – just over the border in Flintshire – but there have been no further developments.
Permission for exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane has been granted at sites in Dutton’s Lane, Upton Heath and Kingsmarsh, Farndon, but no application for extraction has yet been received.
Cllr Parker said: “However, following recent publicity on the issue, we have had contact from a number of concerned residents who have got the impression that fracking was imminent in their areas. It is important that everyone should understand that should we get any such applications they would have to be treated as planning issues and be subject to the normal process of any planning application.
“The council has no specific policy on fracking and would have to, of course, consider very carefully the environmental implications when dealing with any such an application.”
Cllr Parker added that as well as planning permission, any proposal for shale gas extraction would also require consent from bodies such as the Department of Energy and Climate and Environment Agency.