BRITAIN’S national parks could soon be blighted by fracking sites because the government has left a loophole in new regulations, according to campaigners.
Activists opposed to the environmentally damaging drilling process say that companies are lobbying the government over the drawing up of a waste and minerals plan that could allow the extraction of shale gas in the Yorkshire region.
Fracking companies have submitted suggestions for the plan that seek to alter the definition of fracking used by authorities responsible for North Yorkshire, the North York Moors national park and the city of York authorities, campaigners said.
This would create a technical loophole that could enable them to carry out fracking in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and near drinking water sources.
The government has also decided that fracking regulations will only apply when more than 1,000 cubic metres of fluid is used per expected stage of fracking, or 10,000 in total for all stages.
All limits on fracking companies, such as restrictions on well numbers and requirements for buffer zones around beauty spots and people’s homes, are being contested by the firms such as energy giant Cuadrilla.
Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, said: “We are calling on the public to tell our politicians: ‘Hands off our national parks’.”
Ryedale District Councillor Paul Andrews said: “The industry is hell-bent on putting corporate profits before the needs and wishes of residents.”