Fracking near me: map of constituencies with most exploration licences as ban lifted in England

Fracking is back in business, after a controversial announcement last week from business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg. New analysis shows the constituencies which could be affected and - like Rees-Mogg’s - the ones which won’t.

Nearly 150 constituencies across England and Wales could be in line for fracking within months, after the Government lifted a ban on the practice.

On Thursday, Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said there was a need to explore “all avenues” of energy generation because of the war in Ukraine. He removed the shale gas moratorium and confirmed support for a new oil and gas licensing round. But environmental campaigners at Friends of the Earth slammed the move as sending “shockwaves” through local communities.

Almost 150 constituencies across England and Wales have licences for onshore oil and gas exploration.

Data produced by Friends of the Earth and shared with NationalWorld shows which constituencies have licences for onshore oil and gas exploration - including fracking.

From Blackpool to Chichester, there are 146 constituencies in Englandand Wales covered by such licences, with some agreements spanning multiple constituencies. There are 151 licences specifically for fracking in England, according to the North Sea Transition Authority.

According to the oil and gas industry, it can take up to nine months for an operator with a licence to get the necessary planning and environmental permits to start exploration work.

Fracking remains a contentious issue across the political spectrum. Proportionally, of all constituencies with at least one licence, almost three quarters (72.6%) are in Conservative areas, while 26.8% are in Labour held areas, 0.2% are in Liberal Democrat constituencies and 0.4% are within the Speaker’s constituency.

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High profile names within the Tory party also represent constituencies with multiple onshore exploration licences. Leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt’s South West Surrey constituency has three licences while Robert Jenrick, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, has 15 in his Newark constituency. Ex-Labour leader, Ed Milliband, also has nine licences in his Doncaster North constituency.

Not every patch in the country is available to onshore exploration however. Prime Minister Liz Truss’ constituency, South West Norfolk, and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s Spelthorne constituency, have zero licences for such activity. Mr Rees-Mogg, who announced the lifting of the ban, also has zero licences in his North East Somerset constituency. There are no licences in London or the East, nor in Scotland and Northern Ireland where fracking remains banned.

Fracking remains a controversial practice and the announcement has sparked fury across the political spectrum with some Tory MPs saying it won’t work. Yesterday (22 September) we revealed how the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) concluded in their Autumn 2021 public opinion survey on energy sources that “opposition to fracking clearly outweighed support”. The results of the survey found 44% of people opposed fracking, with just 17% supporting it.

Which constituencies have the most licences?

Thirsk and Malton, represented by Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake, has the greatest number of onshore oil and gas licences in his constituency. In total, his Yorkshire constituency has 21 licences.

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Bassetlaw in the East Midlands has the joint second greatest number of licences with 16 in total. This constituency is represented by Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.

Gainsborough in the East Midlands, represented by Conservative MP Edward Leigh, also has 16 licences.

The interactive maps below will show you how many onshore oil and gas licences have been granted in your constituency.

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‘Listen to the science’

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Danny Gross, criticised the announcement and urged the Government to opt for a clean energy strategy “fit for the future”.

“Ripping up the rules that protect people from fracking would send shockwaves through local communities,” he said. “This announcement suggests that the government is planning to throw communities under the bus by forcing them to accept ‘a higher degree of risk and disturbance’.

“If the government caves into the fracking industry and allows them to cause larger earthquakes, it will further undermine confidence that fracking can be done safely.

“The reality is that fracking will have a negligible impact on energy bills, while sending more climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere. Little wonder that it is one of the least popular forms of energy generation.

“The government should listen to the science and develop an energy strategy fit for the future, not one stuck in the failings of the past. That means investing in insulation and the UK’s vast resources of cheap, clean and popular renewables.”

‘Explore all avenues’

Last week, Mr Rees-Mogg made the announcement that the fracking ban was lifted and said the country had to “explore all avenues available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas production” because of the war in Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy added that the move was to improve energy security and boost domestic energy supply. The spokesperson said: “Lifting the pause on shale gas extraction will allow us to gather further data and make sure this is done as safely as possible and where there is local support.

“When considering future applications for consent, Ministers will consider local support for local projects, including what community benefits will be put in place.”