PROTESTERS have stepped up a campaign to prevent ‘fracking’ for shale gas in Lancashire, after a parliamentary committee said developing the controversial technique should be an ‘urgent national priority’.

The newly-established East Lancashire Against Fracking group staged a demonstration in the bandstand in Burnley town centre on Saturday, handing out leaflets and warning shoppers of the environemental threats posed by shale gas exploration.

Last week the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee backed the government’s decision to ‘go all out for shale’ in the UK, insisting environmental concerns over water use, methane leaks and earth tremors were not serious and could be mitigated.

Fracking has already been carried out off the Fylde coast, but two onshore sites have since been pinpointed by extraction firm Cuadrilla, near Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton, both between Blackpool and Preston.

The Forest of Bowland and a number of sites along the M65 corridor could also be targeted for fracking, as revealed by the Lancashire Telegraph last year.

Beena Hussain, 19, a Burnley College student who organised the protest, said: “We want people to be aware that fracking will ruin the environment and threaten our clean water supplies.

“The government say it’s going to be good for the economy, but we think it’s more about private companies making profits.”

Another protester, Danielle Kay, 36, from Barnoldswick, said: “I’m really concerned about the future for my children if fracking is allowed to go ahead. We should be moving towards sustainable energy instead.”