Lancashire election candidates asked to oppose fracking

Anti-fracking campaigners in Preston
Image caption Protesters from Ribble Estuary Against Fracking and Friends of the Earth took part in the rally

Anti-fracking campaigners have asked Lancashire council election candidates to oppose the process.

In March, energy company Cuadrilla said it had delayed plans to use the shale gas extraction method in the county until 2014.

Groups including Ribble Estuary Against Fracking and Friends of the Earth made the call at a protest in Preston.

Friends of the Earth's Helen Rimmer said she hoped the candidates would "back renewable energy instead".

Fracking is a technique where water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

It was temporarily banned in the UK after it was blamed for two earth tremors in Blackpool in May 2011, a claim which was backed by a report commissioned by the energy company later that year.

However, earlier this month, researchers from Durham University's Energy Institute reported that fracking was not a significant source of tremors that can be felt on the surface, compared to many other human activities such as mining or filling reservoirs with water.

Cuadrilla has applied to Lancashire County Council to frack for shale gas at its Anna's Road site in St Annes and Banks, near Southport.

Ms Rimmer said the protest had involved "communities from across Lancashire, so it's not just an issue that's for isolated areas - it affects the whole of the county".

She said the protesters wanted candidates to "say no to fracking and for Lancashire County Council to refuse any further permissions".

Elections for 84 county councillors to cover 12 Lancashire district areas will be held on 2 May.

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