The government has awarded a raft of new licences to energy companies to explore for oil and gas in parts of Lincolnshire, but councillors say it’s not a ‘green light’ yet.
Areas in addition to the plots outlined in the summer, could pave the way for so-called fracking (hydraulic fracturing).
Developers would however need to apply for planning permission and environmental permits.
Local communities would then get a say on the planning process.
The blocks of land awarded are around 10km by 10km and the new sites for Lincolnshire are:
- The coastal areas of the county and the Wolds
- Wickenby, Wragby and Bucknall
- Areas north of Saxilby
- Villages in the east and south of Lincoln including Branston, Metheringham and Bracebridge Heath
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Planning at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The announcement is not a green light for fracking in Lincolnshire.
“Any developer wishing to explore for oil or gas will still need to apply for planning permission and environmental permits. Local communities will have a chance to have their say as part of that planning process.
“If gas or oil deposits are found, the developer would then need to apply for planning permission again both for further appraisal and extraction, which may be done using conventional methods as opposed to fracking.
“In addition, the geology of the areas where licences have been granted suggests that the majority are unlikely to have shale gas deposits, so fracking seems unlikely.
“The new licences would indicate that the locations in Lincolnshire where it looks likely that shale does exist is in the Marton and Torksey areas. The exploitation of this relies on it being commercially viable.”
Across the country, 93 licences were awarded by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) on December 17 to explore 159 blocks of land.
The biggest winners of the licenses overall were Ineos, Cuadrilla, IGas and Southwestern Energy.