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Fears over Wales shale gas drilling

More than half of the Welsh population could be affected by shale gas drilling in the future if proposed licence areas were granted, a government report has revealed.

Areas including Wrexham, Swansea, much of the counties of Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, and parts of Newport have already been granted onshore drilling licences - in a 2011 report into Britain’s onshore basins for shale gas produced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

However, a spokesman for DECC said a Petroleum Exploration and Development licence being granted did not mean drilling would inevitably follow, as applications were subject to planning laws.

And Friends of the Earth Cymru said that sites being considered for licences in the next round (the “14th round”) include swathes of North and Mid Wales, including the whole of Flintshire and Wrexham, parts of Powys, all of Monmouthshire and Newport and the entire South Wales Valleys and coast, including Cardiff, as far west as Llanelli.