ENVIRONMENTALISTS in the Cotswolds are calling on local people to make their opinions heard as part of a government consultation into fracking in the UK.

As reported previously in the Standard, the Cotswolds has been identified as a suitable location where fracking could take place.

Dr Jonathan Whittaker, chairman of the newly formed Frack Free Cotswolds group, has said that this is the last opportunity people have to air their opinion on the controversial drilling process.

“It is vital that people in the Cotswolds make their voices heard. When things go wrong later, our government will then be able to say that there was a consultation and everyone had a chance to have their say,” he said.

The government is asking members of the public to comment on a 174-page online document that sets out the potential economic and environmental effects of fracking in the country.

Dr Whittaker has criticised the government for not advertising the consultation more prominently since its launch in December.

“Once again, the government is pushing through its intended policy of ensuring fracking comes to our country,” he said.

“The public is purposefully and repeatedly being kept in ignorance of what it is involved in the process of fracking, the government fears that an informed public will have nothing of it.”

However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was “nonsense” to suggest that the consultation was not well publicised.

“Energy minister Michael Fallon launched the consultation to a press conference of national newspaper and broadcast journalists resulting in media coverage across the country,” the spokesman said.

Comments on the consultation must be submitted online before 11.45pm on Friday, March 28.

To access the consultation, visit www.econsultation.decc.gov.uk.