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Calls to halt Lancashire fracking plans

Plans to drill for shale gas in the Lancashire countryside have been hit by protesters, who have called for a review of the environmental im pact

Around 60 campaigners opposed to the controversial hydraulic fracturing took part in a rally in Preston on Sunday to call for a wide-ranging review into the environmental impact into the practice.

Reports on Sunday have also flamed the Government could be set to back-track on plans to allow the extraction.

It has been suggested industry experts have told officials, including Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘fracking’ may not have a major impact on the UK energy market.

Helen Rimmer, who was among 40 cyclists from Southport who joined the protest, said too little was known about the impact of the process, which sees water and chemicals blasted into shale rock to unlock natural gas reserves.

She said: “There are still so many unknowns. There has been no independent research done into the risks of water contamination from pumping these chemicals into the ground.

The protesters cycled from across Lancashire, including a group of 25 who cycled from Blackpool to Preston, and staged a rally on the city’s Flag Market before cycling on to Lancashire County Council’s headquarters at County Hall in the city.

The demonstration, organised by campaign groups Friends of the Earth, Residents Against Fylde Fracking (RAFF) and Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF), coincided with a one-week deadline for people to comment on the findings of a Government report into the tremors which rocked part of the Fylde two years ago.