Half the UK is now open for fracking. This map shows all potential sites

Check out the areas open to exploration

The government has today (Monday) launched its “14th onshore licensing round” for fracking (hydraulic fracturing), which basically means it’s now letting companies bid for the right to start exploring areas for fracking that, in total, constitute about half of the UK.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change’s map below (with key just above) shows all the areas that are now open to exploration.

The government has opened up more than 37,000 square metres for licensing, including some areas that fall within national parks.

But there are also new regulations to protect areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks, World Heritage sites and the Broads. The government has promised that licences will only be given to areas that affect these sites in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”.

>> Not sure where you stand on fracking? These three videos will help you decide

This is the first time since 2008 that companies have been able to apply for a fracking licence in the UK.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Unlocking shale gas in Britain has the potential to provide us with greater energy security, jobs and growth.

“We must act carefully, minimising risks, to explore how much of our large resource can be recovered to give the UK a new home-grown source of energy.”

But fracking is still hugely contentious in the UK.

If you’re still not entirely clear on how it works and what all the pros and cons of it are, check out these quick videos.

Let me know what you think of fracking @sophiehobson.

This government map shows all areas that are under offer in the 14th licensing round

Key

- Yellow: Blocks currently under license

- Plain pink: Blocks under offer in the 14th Onshore Round

- Pink with diagonal lines: Watery areas on offer in the 14th Onshore Round


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