April 23, 2015 / 3:43 PM / 5 years ago

Officials delay shale gas decisions until after election

LONDON (Reuters) - British officials have delayed decisions on whether to allow Cuadrilla to explore for shale gas at two sites in northwest England until after next month’s general election.

Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of shale gas trapped in underground rocks and the national government has been supportive of developing these reserves. However, progress has been slow because of local opposition to hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - due to environmental concerns.

Local government officials in Lancashire county said on Thursday that they would defer the decisions until June 30, from a previous April 30 deadline, a move that pushes them beyond Britain’s May 7 election.

In January, advisors to the local council had recommended the applications from Cuadrilla, one of Britain’s main shale gas explorers, should be rejected because the work involved would be too noisy and create too much traffic.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Pravin Char

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