A CONTRACT to frack in Herefordshire has been declined by the company which was offered the licence.

South Western Energy Ltd, which is based in Bridgend, was offered fracking licenses by the government which included the areas of Whitchurch, Welsh Newton, Goodrich, Kerne Bridge and Hope Mansell.

But the Oil and Gas Authority [OGA] confirmed that some of the licenses had not been accepted by the company.

A spokesman said: “The OGA can confirm that some blocks offered under the 14th Onshore Licensing Round have not been accepted by those to whom they were offered.

"This means that the licences pertaining to these blocks will not be awarded. The blocks concerned include SO50a, SO51a, SO60a, SO60b, SO61, ST84, ST85, ST94 and ST95, which are near the Forest of Dean and near Wiltshire."

There were 159 blocks offered to successful applicants in December 2015. Those who accept the licenses then need to apply for planning and other permissions.

The area in south Herefordshire had been licensed for gas exploration and development in the form of Coal Bed Methane.

It is unclear if and when the land in Herefordshire would be next involved in any licensing process. The 13th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round was held in 2008, six years before the latest round started.