Anti-fracking voices heard

Fracking protesters
Fracking protesters

WIGANERS opposed to fracking joined counterparts from across the region as hundreds rallied close to a drilling site in Salford.

More than 500 campaigners walked from Salford City Stadium to Barton Moss, where energy giant IGas is conducting exploratory drilling operations.

The action came hours before the Government announced plans for councils to receive financial incentives to encourage fracking in their areas.

Several licences already taken out by energy companies cover areas to the north and south of Wigan borough.

Campaign group Frack Free Manchester, which plans to launch a Wigan group this month, organised the weekend rally.

Carmen Peruga said: “The message is clear, the Government has made people very angry by offering 60 per cent of the UK to fracking companies.

“You speak to people who live in the areas that are newly available and they’re furious.

“It’s as clear as day, there is no social licence for these proposed developments and people are willing to do whatever is necessary to stop them happening.”

A recent geological survey said vast amounts of shale gas lies untapped under the majority of northern England.

Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - involves firing water and chemicals at underground shale rock formations. But the process has attracted concerns that it can cause earth tremors and lead to pollution of the water table.

Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron said local authorities in England would receive 100 per cent of the business rates collected from shale gas schemes - rather than the usual 50 per cent.

Wigan Council confirmed to the Evening Post that no applications for planning permission have been submitted for fracking operations in the borough.