England

Fracking licences in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire 'will not be used'

Fracking Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Campaigners welcomed the decision for the licences not to be used

Licences to carry out fracking in parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, will not be used by a company they had been granted to.

South Western Energy said it had decided not to pursue licences which were awarded to explore for gas.

A spokesman said it was because energy costs were currently low and future prices were uncertain.

The decision has been welcomed by environmental campaigners who said it was "brilliant news".

Gerwyn Williams from South Western Energy, based in Bridgend, said they had also decided to "relinquish large areas of existing licences in South Wales".

"The main reason is to minimise financial exposure during a period of low energy costs and uncertain future prices.

'May re-apply'

"We have retained the more prospective areas in Wales, Dorset and Somerset.

"If matters improve we may re-apply... for some of the areas."

Licences to explore for oil and gas, including fracking in various parts of the UK were offered to several companies by The Oil and Gas Authority last year.

However, whether exploration can actually go ahead is subject to local planning consent.

Owen Adams, from the group Frack Off Our Forest, which had campaigned against the idea, said it was "brilliant news" and "a victory for people power".

"We have achieved a major goal," he said.

Forest of Dean Conservative MP, Mark Harper, said: "Given the current price of oil and gas, I believe that the exploration work does not make financial sense, due to challenging geology in the Forest of Dean."

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