A map showing the areas across England where onshore oil and gas extraction – including fracking – could take place has been published.
It comes as Liz Truss’s government formally lifted a ban on fracking for shale gas that has been in place since 2019 despite the lack of safety data, saying it was an “absolute priority” to boost energy supply.
The map, created by Friends of the Earth, allows people to enter their postcode to see if their area is covered by an onshore oil and gas licence.
Companies with such licenses have the right to explore for oil and gas, which could involve fracking.
Many of the licenses cover the Bowland Shale Formation, a geological area of interest for fracking that stretches across the Midlands and the North of England.
Friends of the Earth fracking campaigner, Danny Gross, said: “Shale gas extraction causes earthquakes and contributes to climate breakdown and will do almost nothing to reduce energy bills.
“Fracking is by far the most unpopular and least effective way of generating energy in the UK and has been opposed by communities wherever it has been attempted.
“Any attempt to water down the rules that help safeguard people from the threat of fracking will only fuel its unpopularity.
“If Liz Truss wants to build a strong economy for the future, she should champion home insulation and the UK’s plentiful renewable resources. They are cheap, quick to develop and are popular with the public.”
The Friends of the Earth map and data analysis reveal that a total of 91 local authorities in England (out of 333) have oil and gas exploration licences.
Earlier this month a Survation poll for RenewableUK revealed that only 34% of people were in favour of fracking – while some 77% of the 6,114 people polled by backed the use of wind and solar farms.
Even the founder of a fracking firm has said fracking in the UK will be impossible and will not help with the energy price crisis.
Chris Cornelius, the geologist who founded Cuadrilla Resources, which drilled the UK’s first modern hydraulic fracturing wells in Lancashire, told the Guardian: “I don’t think there is any chance of fracking in the UK in the near term.”
He also called today’s announcement a “political stunt”.