A 339-NAME petition has been submitted to Bradford Council urging the local authority not to allow fracking on its land.

In 'No Fracking in Bradford District', campaigners, spearheaded by Councillor Kevin Warnes (Green, Shipley) have also urged Bradford Council to use its powers to discourage private developers from undertaking any fracking-related drilling.

Fracking, or 'hydraulic fracturing', involves forcing out shale gas from rocks under high pressure.

Energy firms must get planning permission from local authority and a permit from the Environment Agency before they can start extraction.

The Bradford petition currently has 247 paper signatures with 92 people signing an e-petition.

Now, the combined petition will be formally considered at Bradford Council's next executive meeting on January 13.

The Government announced it supports the fracking method in 2013, saying it increases our energy security, creates jobs and generates substantial tax revenue.

It also plans to financially reward councils which allow fracking in their area.

A report, compiled by Julian Jackson, Bradford Council's assistant director (planning, transportation and highways), says: "Previous rounds (last in 2008) have not resulted in licence applications in Bradford, however the Bradford district is still open."

The report adds the Council has options on dealing with fracking on council-owned land.

These will be considered on a case-by-case basis, or the Council may decide to adopt a policy of prohibiting its land from being used or disposed of for fracking.

This petition aims to persuade Bradford Council to adopt a robust position opposing 'fracking' in the district, in order to protect natural environment and help to secure sustainable development for our citizens.

Campaigners claim large amounts of water are needed for fracking, which would reduce water supplies in the district.

The online petition says: "We ask Bradford Council to do everything in its power (a) to prevent fracking on Council-owned land and (b) to discourage private developers from undertaking any fracking-related drilling."

Cllr Warnes was unavailable for comment yesterday.

But speaking in February last year, he 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."

A Bradford Council spokesman said: ”There have been no proven oil or gas resources within the district and we are unaware of any interest in carrying out exploratory work for any form of oil or gas extraction, including fracking.

"However, the Lower Bowland-Hodder Shale Unit covers part of the north of the district which potentially contains shale oil or gas resources, so we cannot discount the possibility of requests to extract oil and gas in the district via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or other unconventional techniques.

"The report recommends that the executive requests the director of regeneration and culture to seek a joint approach to fracking for the Leeds City Region through the Planning Portfolios Board and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.”