Council orders fracking site shut despite energy crisis to avoid upsetting owls 'that left years ago'

6 August 2022, 07:29 | Updated: 6 August 2022, 08:09

Nottinghamshire County Council ordered the site to shut over fears for owls that apparently left years ago
Nottinghamshire County Council ordered the site to shut over fears for owls that apparently left years ago. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

A fracking site has been ordered to close within weeks – despite the energy crisis – because it might upset owls that are thought to have left years ago.

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Nottinghamshire County Council revoked permission for the Mission Springs site partly over fears about "breeding long-eared owls".

Extraction company IGas was told to "plug and abandon” work there despite having previously agreed to keep the birds safe during its operations, which were due to span to November 2023.

Wildlife experts said the owls had left the area in 2018 but the council has now told them to shut down because of a "sensitive local environment", The Sun said.

While environmental groups have criticised fracking for being potentially unsafe to local communities and over concerns about damage to the natural environment, its proponents say it is safe if done properly and could provide an important alternative energy source during turbulent times.

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Russia has been accused of restricting how much gas it sends to Europe as it looks to pile the pressure on the West, leaving European governments scrambling to deal with soaring energy prices that were already taking off before the invasion of Ukraine.

And The Sun said it is thought a natural gas seam, running across northern England, could hold enough shale gas to heat millions of homes.

The Government halted fracking in 2019 but after Ukraine was attacked ministers examined whether it could start again.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, the Tory leadership candidates vying for No10, both said they would support its return if communities consent.

Nottinghamshire County Council did not comment.