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National parks and other areas of natural beauty could be opened up for fracking, it has been announced.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that these conservation areas along with urban commons and cities across the UK are to be opened up for fracking and other forms of oil and gas exploration, despite widespread opposition to the practice.

This could result in vast areas of London being opened up for fracking, along with parts of south Devon, north Norfolk, the South Downs, Yorkshire and the Cotswolds.

Fracking company Cuadrilla has submitted a planning application to Lancashire county council for a site at Preston New Road and another at Roseacre.

This comes weeks after it previously claimed it was withdrawing its application due to the dangerously high levels of radiation it would produce.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla said that around half a dozen fracking sites, each with 10 to 20 wells, would be required to get at the gas lying beneath each 100 square kilometres of land. This could mean several hundreds of fracking sites and thousands of wells across the north of England.

Energy minister Michael Fallon has also supported the scheme.

Fracking produces large volumes of water contaminated with radioactive waste and toxic levels of chloride and bromide, combined with strontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic composition.

In a study published earlier this year, Vengosh reported that drinking water within a kilometre of fracking sites contained a toxic soup of methane, ethane and propane.

He claimed: “The word fracking has a lot of baggage attached to it, but it has been proven you can do it in national parks and other sensitive areas like cities without serious impacts.

“Such operations could fit into towns and cities too. The sites are smaller than many other industrial activities.”
Earlier this year, emails released under freedom of information rules revealed that UK government officials privately collaborated with shale gas executives to help the shale industry manage public opposition to fracking.

This prompted campaigners to state that the British government was acting as another branch of the corporate oil industry.

Further research published by by MU scientists revealed that water samples from drilling sites demonstrated high levels of hormone disrupting substances that could interfere with the body’s response to androgen and estrogen hormones.

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