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UK government hands out new fracking licenses

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Staff writer ▼ | December 21, 2015
UK government’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) unveiled new licenses to explore for shale gas on British soil.
UK oil fracking
Oil exploration   The 93 licences to explore 159 blocks
According to environmentalists, the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round marks the completion of a U-turn that will mean companies are allowed to prospect for shale gas, extracted using "fracking", under protected landscapes.

The awarding of new licenses comes just a day after MPs voted to allow fracking under National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The government assured that, before licensees can begin operations (such as drilling, hydraulic fracturing - fracking - or production) they must be granted a number of further permissions and consents on top of the licenses announced this week.

These include planning permission, environmental permits from the Environment Agency, scrutiny of well design by the Health and Safety Executive, and OGA approval.

The 93 licences give companies the right to explore 159 blocks of land for on-shore oil and gas, with the vast majority of blocks situated in the north of England. The licenses cover land in the Lake District, Peak District and North York Moors.

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