A government report into possible problems associated with fracking has been heavily redacted before being released to the public, it has been revealed.
The report – Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts – has dozens of details redacted in the public version.
It comes as the Government’s Infrastructure Bill is being examined this week by a Public Bill Committee.
Cuadrilla is seeking to drill, frack, and test gas flows, with associated separate applications for environmental monitoring, at two sites at Preston New Road at Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood.
Lancashire County Council will rule on two planning applications on January 31.
Residents and members of anti-fracking groups say that no-one can be expected to discuss the issue properly when the full details have been removed (or redacted) by the Government from such a significant report.
A letter published with the report said: “There is a strong public interest in withholding the information because it is important that officials can consider implications of potential impacts and scenarios around the development of the shale gas industry and to develop options without the risk that disclosure of early thinking could close down discussion.”
Patricia Davies of the Preston New Road Action Group said: “The Defra report on fracking has more than 60 redactions in it.
“Clearly there is a lot of important information that is being withheld from the public.
“If there is nothing to hide then why has this report been censored so much?”
Barbara Richardson from the Roseacre Awareness Group said: “The report has 63 redacted sections which are mainly about the impact on peoples properties, economic benefits, investment and job creation, local services and social impacts.
“Property prices have already been affected in Roseacre despite what Cuadrilla keeps saying. Many residents are extremely stressed and anxious over this issue.”