Energy companies may be eyeing up possible fracking sites in Cheshire West, but so far no planning applications have come forward to extract shale gas.
But Cheshire West and Chester Council has issued a statement to clarify the situation after being contacted by residents concerned that fracking was imminent in their areas.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for the economy, said: “It is important that everyone should understand that should we get any such applications they would have to be treated as planning issues and be subject to the normal process of any planning application.
“The council has no specific policy on fracking and would have to of course consider very carefully the environmental implications when dealing with any such an application.”
The council says at Ince Marshes, exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane has revealed shale gas but no application has so far been received for permission to extract.
At Milton Green/Chilton exploratory drilling took place in 1965 but no application has been received since then.
Similarly, in the 1980s, drilling took place at the Blacon East site – just over the border in Flintshire – but so far there have been no further developments.
Permission for exploratory drilling for coalbed methane has been granted at Dutton’s Lane, Upton Heath and Kingsmarsh, Farndon , but no application for extraction has yet been received.
Cllr Parker said as well as planning permission, any proposals for shale gas extraction would also be regulated by and need consent from bodies such as the Department of Energy and Climate and Environment Agency.