Nottingham

Anna Soubry MP says fracking is 'a good idea'

Business Minister Anna Soubry
Image caption Anna Soubry MP said fracking was a great way to provide energy

A government minister has spoken out in favour of fracking, which could take place in her constituency.

Anna Soubry, MP for Broxtowe, said she had been "persuaded" that the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from shale rock was a "good idea".

Licences have been offered for possible future drilling in the area that Ms Soubry represents.

Campaigner Greg Hewitt, from Frack Free Notts, said her views went against public opinion in Broxtowe.

The area falls into what is known as the Widmerpool Gulf and could be explored for shale gas in the future.

Frack Free Notts held protests in Nottingham at the weekend and wants councils to refuse permission for all drilling work.

The group said water, air quality and damage to the land was "inevitable".

Image caption Protests were held in Nottingham and Beeston at the weekend

Mr Hewitt said: "We've held meetings and a lot of people have expressed their concerns, there's also a petition which 650 people have signed."

Ms Soubry said: "Having a proper informed debate is critical and the industry itself has now got to step up and make that case as well as us in government, in politics, who believe it's a great way of providing the energy that we need.

"We've go to make sure we keep the lights on."

Richard MacRae, from Broxtowe Borough Council, set up the petition against fracking in the area.

"My main concern is the loss of green space, we don't want it destroyed," he said.

Image caption It is thought there is shale gas under much of the East Midlands

During the process of fracking, water, chemicals and sand are blasted at shale rocks to release the gas trapped within.

Opponents are concerned about earth tremors, water contamination, disruption and CO2 emissions.

But the industry has insisted it can be carried out safely under the right regulations.

Any fracking will require planning and environmental permission from the council.

More on this story