Derbyshire could be opened up for fracking after French energy giant Total announced its intention to drill for shale gas in the East Midlands.
The firm said it is to plough £30 million into shale gas exploration in the region after a Government report named Derbyshire as ‘under consideration’ for fracking.
Derbyshire County Council said that although areas in the north of the county had already been identified as possible drilling sites, it was ‘much too early’ to say if the county would be affected.
Campaigners believe the process is damaging to the environment and could impact the water supply and even cause earthquakes.
On Monday PM David Cameron announced that authorities would be able to keep all business rates paid by shales gas operators under new plans.
But Derby North MP Chris Williamson said this would “create suspicion” in people’s minds when authorities grant permission for fracking sites.
The Government is planning a drive to open up the country for fracking which it says will support 74,000 jobs and reduce energy bills.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We have no formal policy on fracking as there are currently no proposals. We have received no applications and if we did we would judge each on its own merits.”
Fracking triggered controversy in the UK after one firm set off minor earth tremors when it started drilling near Blackpool.
In the US, where shale gas is exploited on a large scale and footage has been captured of people able to ignite water coming out of their taps because of gas contamination.
There are shale gas deposits in Derbyshire - in the north of the county and a small one between Derby and Long Eaton and beyond the town to the east.
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