More than 130 people attended the discussion, which was opened by Cllr Lynn Riley, at Best Western Forest Hills Hotel in Frodsham.
Key speakers at the event were professor of applied and environmental geophysics at Keele University Peter Styles and professor of regeneration and sustainable development at the University of Salford Erik Bichard.
Prof Styles explained about the geology of the local area and the process of shale gas extraction by fracking.
Prof Bichard, meanwhile, explored the role of energy conservation and gave examples to the audience of how individual households can make changes to reduce energy usage.
Graham Wood, from Frodsham and Kingsley Transition Initiatives, said: “The debate covered various points of view as to whether resources should go into further developing renewables and energy conservation, or to push ahead with fossil fuels such as shale gas extraction.
“It was a very informative and good natured debate with exchanges between the two professors and the audience. There was also a very lively and impassioned question and answer session.”
An expert panel of six other speakers included Cllr Andrew Dawson, who led a discussion in which he explained how he wanted to ensure community engagement regarding planning applications for significant developments, and that he would not be interested in shale gas exploitation unless it could be done safely and with the community’s agreement.
Writing in his blog following the debate, Cllr Dawson thanked the transition initiatives for ‘a well organised and thought provoking event’.
“I learned much from it and I'm sure others did too,” he said. “I will keep arguing for Frodsham, and indeed any community to be given the means to decide any controversial application.”
Graham added that the wide range of views of the attendees meant it wasn’t possible to determine a clear yes or no answer as to whether resources should go further into developing renewables and energy conservation or to push ahead with shale gas extraction.
He said, however, that there was consensus that the public should have more say in projects planned locally, that more local sustainable energy sources from renewables are required, and that if we must use fossils fuels in the interim, they should be as clean and safe as possible.
For more information about Frodsham and Kingsley Transition Initiatives, email email@example.com.