Independent analysis reveals for the first time the full extent of fracking in Sheffield & Yorkshire beauty spots, as Labour MP warns fracking companies “Yorkshire is effectively a no-go zone”.
Analysis commissioned by Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh by the House of Commons Library has revealed for the first time the full extent of fracking licences granted within Yorkshire’s beloved National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other “protected areas”*.
Yorkshire has the largest number of these protected areas of any county in the entire UK, but up to now the true extent of fracking in these protected areas has been left to guesswork.
But this analysis has revealed for that up to one-sixth, or 533sqkm* of Yorkshire's entire protected land is now in areas set aside for fracking and 140 - almost half - of Yorkshire's Sites of Special Scientific Interest sit within fracking exploration zones (so called Petroleum Exploration and Development licences).
In the Sheffield area fracking zones alone there is a large chunk of the Peak District to the West of Sheffield, several Sites of Special Scientific Interest including Wadsley Fossil Forest, Totley Wood and Moss Valley Meadows, not to mention the green belt, community forest such as Ecclesall Wood, much-loved green space such as Graves Park and a huge urban conurbation.
The Peak District to the West, The North York Moors & the Howardian Hills to the North the Humberhead Peatlands Natural Nature Reserve to the East and caves, heritage coastline, meadows, fens and moorlands* are all in areas set aside for fracking.
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said:
“Yorkshire is blessed with more treasured and protected land than anywhere else in the country. It reveals how close to the wind the Government are sailing in their dash for gas that whole swathes of land supposed to be protected for generation after generation to enjoy, roam and study is now designated for fracking exploration."
"Fracking companies need to get real: this analysis reveals Yorkshire is effectively a no-go zone for shale gas exploitation."
"The fracking zones in Sheffield sit right over a huge urban conurbation, beautiful green space treasured by the community, and 2 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. That land is ours to treasure and I will fight to defend it from fracking which simply isn't viable.
"And there is so much protected land within fracking exploration zones across Yorkshire that it would be next to impossible to exploit the gas & make a profit without damaging our treasured land and what it is that we and millions who visit love about the place."
*Of Yorkshire’s entire 4,624sqkm of protected lands as much as 533.36sqkm of it now sits within a block set aside for fracking. Meaning some 14.3% or one sixth of all of Yorkshire’s beauty spots and protected areas are now in land set aside for fracking.
*Taken together Yorkshire has the highest density of Special Scientific Interest areas at 380 - by far the highest number of any county in the UK. 140 of those are now in areas set aside for fracking exploration.
* Designated areas includes National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the Broads, World Heritage sites, Source Protection Zones (SPZ) 1, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Natura 2000, Ramsar sites