Campaigners call to protect Lincolnshire Wolds from fracking

Fears are growing that frackers could rip open the district’s prized Lincolnshire Wolds to drill for oil.

Campaigners say ten kilometre areas around Louth, Alford, Spilsby, Mablethorpe, Horncastle and Skegness are all at risk from the controversial drilling technique.

Campaigners at NoFracking EastLindsey say they fear thousands of drills could take place in the Wolds.

East Lindsey District Council says it would also be concerned if fracking did happen in the Wolds.

A senior county councillor has moved to calm such fears – but there is anxiety about what could happen next.

A spokesman for the campaign group said: “This will devastate our countryside and community, cause water contamination, reduce the value of our homes and could cause earthquakes and make us sick.”

In August, moves to start prospecting for shale gas between East Kirkby and Spilsby were given the given the green light.

But a further eight 10km square areas along the Lincolnshire coast could also be agreed for exploration bids later this year.

The campaigners appealed to residents across East Lindsey to write to the Oil & Gas Authority to try to stop the area being targeted.

They also say there are fears fracking could have an impact on cancer rates and cause neurological and reproductive problems.

The Wolds is a special place not only because of how it looks but because of how tranquil it is.Steve Jack, Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service

Fracking has generated billions of pounds and helped America become largely self-sufficient in oil, giving it a large supply of cheap fuel that does not rely on Middle Eastern supplies.

However, there are concerns over the impact it can have on the environment – and there were reports of an earthquake near Blackpool when tests took place there.

Earlier this year, the Oil and Gas Authority gave a total of 12 firms the exclusive licence to explore for oil and gas across the county. The process, which involves drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside, has proven controversial among environmentalists.

Craig Leyland, leader of East Lindsey District Council, said: “I am very aware that many people are concerned by the idea of fracking across the district.

“We have had similar concerns regarding wind turbines but this of a much larger order.

“We do have a strategic need for energy but there has to be a balanced approach. If this happens in the Wolds that would be very concerning.”

Conservation group Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service says the area must be protected.

I would be extremely surprised to see any application in the Wolds to see the light of day.Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council

Steve Jack, service manager, said: “The Wolds is a special place not only because of how it looks but because of how tranquil it is.”

Earlier this year the Government announced plans to fast-track fracking applications last week, saying it could take over decision-making if councils repeatedly take longer than the 16-week statutory time frame.

But Colin Davie, executive member of economic development for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “It is a theoretical problem at the moment – we are in the 14th phase of the process and have not had any applications yet.

“However, I would find it pretty hard to understand doing fracking in such a prized area of the county as the Wolds.”

“I would be extremely surprised to see any application in the Wolds to see the light of day.”

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