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Fracking licence bidding to open as National Parks are protected

The bidding process for licences to explore shale gas will open today, the government has announced.

The government is committed to going "all out for shale", claiming it is important for energy security, jobs and the economy.

Critics argue shale gas - which is extracted by the process of fracking - is damaging to the environment with the risk of water pollution.

Ministers are also expected to announce that National Parks will be protected from the practice unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

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Report: Fracking 'could cause water shortages'

Bidding for licences to explore shale gas will open today. Credit: Lindsey Parnaby/PA Archive

Shale gas fracking could lead to water shortgages in parts of the country, a report warned last week.

The paper by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) claimed the water-intensive nature of the process, along with predicted climate change, could mean existing public supplies may not provide enough to meet requirements.

The study also warned of "major shortcomings" in regulations regarding the local environmental and public health risks surrounding fracking.

It was also claimed that there was a "complete lack of evidence behind claims that shale gas exploitation will bring down UK energy bills".

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