Fracking plans shelved at Upton site

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An anti-fracking protest by demonstrators against drilling in Cheshire. Pic © Paul Bowers / Twitter

An anti-fracking protest by demonstrators against drilling in Cheshire. Pic © Paul Bowers / Twitter

A gas company has decided not to ‘frack’ at sites in Chester after a lengthy battle to secure the ground.

Despite having the required planning permission, the IGas firm has stated that it will not drill on the land in Cheshire as the area does not meet the company’s criteria for commercial coal bed methane development.

One of the sites on Duttons Lane in Upton was occupied for 20 months by a protection camp that was legally evicted at the start of the year.

Controversy about the site has arisen over the presence of a protected newt species and Chester Zoo has backed the protection of the Great Crested Newt that is allegedly present in abundance around the area.

A spokesperson from IGas said: “The land at Duttons Lane will now be returned to its former state, including rectifying the damage caused to the area by the protest camp and the protesters.”

Responsibility for the clear-up fell upon the gas company and anyone entering the site faces arrest as there is a two-year ban in force on entry.

The Upton Community Protection Camp said any remaining structures left behind were to limit the disturbance to the newts on the  site.

Anti-fracking group, Frack Free Dee, responded to the IGas statement, saying: “The war may not be over but this is a clear victory for the anti-fracking community. From the people on the camps to the people pouring over the planning applications with a fine toothcomb, working together is our greatest strength.”

About Amy Cole, JMU Journalism