Environmental campaigners are calling on Bradford Council to stand up against frackers.
A petition started by the deputy leader of the Council’s Green group, Councillor Kevin Warnes (Shipley), urges the authority to do everything in its power to prevent the controversial gas extraction method from ever taking place in the district.
But Bradford Council has said that the district has no proven oil or gas reserves and they were “unaware of any interest” in fracking locally.
Fracking, or ‘hydraulic fracturing’, involves forcing out shale gas from rocks under high pressure. Energy firms must get both planning permission from the local authority and a permit from the Environment Agency before they can start extraction.
The Government supports the method, saying the potentially large reserves of shale gas could help to reduce energy bills and create jobs. It plans to financially reward councils which allow fracking in their area.
The petition on Bradford Council’s website, which has so far gathered 75 signatures, says fracking required large amounts of water and burning the extracted gas could increase climate change.
It says: “We ask Bradford Council to do everything in its power to prevent fracking on Council-owned land and to discourage private developers from undertaking any fracking-related drilling.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said they were not aware of any interest in carrying out exploratory work for any form of oil or gas extraction.
The spokesman said: “The Lower Bowland-Hodder Shale Unit, which extends into part of the north of the district, has been identified as potentially containing shale gas resources, so we cannot discount the possibility that this may attract some interest in the future.
This shale unit, however, is very deep, relatively unexplored and different to the gas-producing shales found in North America. Therefore the viability of exploiting shale gases from there is much more uncertain than other better understood units elsewhere in the country.”
Councillor Andrew Thornton (Lab), executive member for the environment, added that the authority would follow national planning guidelines for any fracking application.
He said: “There are some serious environmental concerns that would have to be addressed.”
Coun Warnes said: “We’ll continue with our efforts to persuade Council colleagues to adopt a clear, definitive approach that rules out any fracking on Council land.”