The RSPB has issued its first objections to fracking in Lancashire over concerns that the controversial drilling technique will harm wildlife.
The charity has lodged a letter of objection with Lancashire County Council to proposals by Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas at Singleton near Blackpool.
The drilling site is close to an internationally important protected area for pink footed geese and whooper swans and could cause disturbance to the birds.
The RSPB is also officially objecting to the contentious drilling proposal at Balcombe in West Sussex on the grounds that no Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out, and on climate change grounds.
Harry Huyton, RSPB head of climate and energy policy, said: “Many people are rightly concerned about the impact this new technology will have on their countryside.
“These are not just nimbys worried about house prices – there is a very real public disquiet about fracking.
“We have looked closely at the regulation in place to police drilling for shale gas, and it is simply not robust enough to ensure that our water, our landscapes and our wildlife is safe.
“Singleton is on the doorstep of an area which is home to thousands of geese and swans who will arrive from as far away as Siberia to roost and feed next month and stay for the winter.”
The move comes as Cuadrilla suspended an exploratory oil drilling operation in Balcombe as hundreds of protestors began to arrive.
The so-called Reclaim the Power Camp has been organised in opposition to fracking, which some fear Cuadrilla will go on to conduct after it has completed its exploratory oil drilling.
The RSPB has also joined with other wildlife and environment groups to call on the Government to rethink its shale gas policies.
But a Cuadrilla spokesman said: “Our activities have not and will not harm birds or other wildlife.
“A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is being prepared by independent consultants Arup, to accompany a planning application for Cuadrilla’s exploration site at Grange Hill, near Singleton.
“We’re committed to working with the community and are keen to take on board the views of local people.”