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Public inquiry to get underway over shale gas testing in Cheshire

AnTi-fracking protesters in Ellesmere Port. Photo: Frack Free Ellesmere Port and Upton

Anti-fracking campaigners are expected to stage a demonstration outside a public inquiry in Cheshire.

Energy company IGas wants to carry out tests for shale gas in Ellesmere Port but was refused permission by Cheshire West and Chester Council in January last year.

The site is near the banks of the River Mersey, south of the Vauxhall car plant and north of Stanlow.

The company appealed the decision and now the matter's going to be heard before a public inquiry which begins today at Chester Town Hall.

IGas has previously said the tests are 'routine' but the opponents claim it will lead to full-scale drilling.

Anti-fracking groups say they'll be joined by local residents for the protest ahead of the start of the inquiry.

Friends of the Earth says the public Inquiry is significant for the future of shale gas development in the North West.

“Thousands of local residents and the local council have clearly said no to shale gas testing in Cheshire, while climate scientists warn that fossil fuels must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. “Residents in Ellesmere Port already suffer from poor air - the last thing they need is another polluting industry on their doorstep. “Instead of forcing dirty fracking on communities, the government should back clean renewable energy which could create thousands of new jobs in Cheshire.”

– Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth