The RSPB has called on the government to introduce new measures that rule out fracking within all protected areas, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), before handing out any new fracking licence offers.
Currently, the 27 blocks of land that will be formally offered to fracking companies for exploration include 53 SSSIs and three RSPB nature reserves: Dearne Valley, Fairburn Ings and Langford Lowfields.
Matt Williams, RSPB Climate Change Policy Officer, says: “The Government is doling out new fracking licences for areas of the UK that put some of our most precious wildlife sites under threat.
"Sites of Special Scientific Interest, such as Attenborough Gravel Pits and Fairburn & Newton Ings, are up for grabs for fracking companies who will be able to apply for planning permission to frack anywhere within these newly licensed areas.
“SSSIs are some of our most important wildlife sites. Species such as kingfisher, bittern and goldeneye could be put at risk in these special places and should be protected from the Government’s fracking plans.