LAND surrounding Herefordshire villages has been selected to be considered for fracking.

Whitchurch, Symonds Yat, Llangrove and Welsh Newton are included in a block highlighted by the Government for appropriate assessment.

The Government believes shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs, but the system is controversial due to environmental concerns.

The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean have been highlighted in a Government map of 132 areas which are being considered for fracking but are subject to further environmental assessment.

An online petition has been set up against the proposal by Simon Rosser, who lives in Ross. He said: "They are doing a consultation and not providing facts. The Government say it will provide jobs but not in terms of tourism and environment and there will be a myriad of other effects."

He said there is insufficient evidence to show that these operations are safe and will not have an adverse effect on the water table and water supply.

He said he is concerned about the various sites of Special Areas of Conservation in these areas and tourism, which combine to bring in vast amounts of income to the area, as well as enjoyment of the environment to both locals and visitors alike.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

The Government has already announced 27 blocks which will be offered to companies to explore for oil and gas.

For the remaining 132 blocks, including the Wye Valley, the Government has launched a consultation. Subject to that consultation, a second tranche of awards will be announced later in the year.

To take part in the consultation go to

Simon Rosser has set up a petition against fracking. To sign it go to