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Government accused of 'sneaking through' fracking rules

The Government has been accused of "sneaking through" rules to allow fracking beneath national parks, world heritage sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The first set of new licences are set to be announced on Thursday.

But the move has been met with anger from campaigners, who claim the plans put the environment at risk.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reports:

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New fracking rules 'put drinking water at risk'

The new fracking regulations put drinking water at risk, Friends of the Earth has warned.

Rose Dickinson, from the environmental group, said the new rules, which also allow fracking in certain groundwater areas, put drinking water and national parks at risk.

The group is campaigning for a full ban on fracking because it says 80% of fossil fuels have to remain in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.

People will rightly be concerned that the Government is not following through on its commitment to have strong regulation on fracking.

It is time for us to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales by halting all plans for fracking, which is completely incompatible with tackling climate change and the agreement reached in Paris.

– Friends of the Earth

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Lancashire County Councillors reject fracking plans

Fracking work at the Little Plumpton site Credit: Peter Byrne / PA Wire

County councillors have rejected plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire, according to reports.

Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site in Little Plumpton, between Preston and Blackpool.

Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions but the council's development control committee have rejected the advice and voted against it by 10 to four.

Members of the public stood up and applauded the decision as the motion was passed.

The Government has said it is going "all out for shale", and claims it the controversial procedure would create jobs and growth, as well as reducing energy prices and cutting the country's reliance on gas imports.

However opponents insist that the process, which pumps water underground to release gas trapped in shale rock, causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies, and could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside.

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