THE Environment Agency has given approval to Island Gas Ltd to allow changes to its existing mining waste permit at the Ellesmere Port Well Site in Cheshire.

This will allow the company to carry out exploratory testing over a period of ninety days to investigate the potential for gas extraction.

The permit does not allow for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

As the regulators of the oil and gas industry, the Environment Agency is committed to ensuring that any exploratory works conducted at the Ellesmere Port Well meet the highest standards to protect people and the environment.

The Environment Agency has over the last three months conducted a rigorous assessment of Island Gas’ application alongside a four week public consultation.

The permit sets out the conditions Island Gas Ltd must follow to protect groundwater, surface water and air quality and to ensure the safe storage, management and disposal of wastes.

An Environment Agency spokesman, said: “After completing our assessment of Island Gas Ltd’s application and the public consultation responses, we are satisfied that the right controls are in place to ensure people and the environment are protected.”