Firm planning fracking in the Vale of Belvoir offered another licence

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Another licence has been offered to a company which plans to start fracking in the Vale of Belvoir.

A permit for around 100 sq km was offered this week to London-based Hutton Energy, for an area to the north of Melton, by the Government’s Oil and Gas Authority.

Hutton Energy has already been granted licences for fracking within blocks of land covering villages in the Vale, including Harby, Stathern, Colston Bassett, Plungar, Barkestone, Redmile, Langar, Barnstone and Granby (ref PEDL 204) and Knipton, Belvoir, Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir, Muston and Bottesford (PEDL 208) and Cropwell Bishop and Cropwell Butler (PEDL 254).

It’s anticipated Hutton Energy will be formally granted the Melton licence later this year. They must gain approval from national bodies, including the Environment Agency and Minerals Planning Authority, and would still need to apply for and gain planning permission from the local authority before starting to frack.

The controversial technique involves drilling deep into the ground and blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into shale rocks to release gas trapped inside. It is seen as a way to help secure the nation’s future energy requirements, but opponents warn it could significantly damage the environment.

Hutton Energy’s communications manager Anna McMaster said: “We’re experienced in this work and we believe the UK has regulations to make sure any fracking operations are done in the safest way possible.”

Alastair McQuillan, of the Rutland and Melton Green Party, said: “We are totally opposed to this and we will take a lead role in any action to keep Melton and the Vale of Belvoir frack-free.

“We believe it damages the environment and puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and if there is a leak in the well it could pollute watercourses.”