It's claimed years of conservation could be put at risk after the government approved a raft of new licences here in the North West to explore for shale gas. The 28 new licences could pave the way for more controversial fracking from Cheshire to South Cumbria. It would be one of the most intensive areas for fracking in Britain. Despite considerable opposition, the government says 'it's time to press ahead with shale gas, providing secure, home grown energy for decades to come'. This assessment now from our correspondent, Elaine Willcox.
Almost 40 areas in the North West have been offered as sites to explore for shale gas fracking.
New licences for onshore gas and oil exploration have been granted in a move campaigners say could open swathes of the country to fracking.