INEOS Shale, the shale gas development arm of INEOS, is today meeting town and parish council members to explain how it believes shale gas can be extracted safely.

The community consultation programme is described by INEOS as part of its ‘commitment to ongoing engagement with local communities’.

INEOS is to operate a licence awarded by the Government to allow it to explore for oil or gas possibly trapped in commercially viable quantities below ground.

The company has been awarded ‘acreage’ in three main areas, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Cheshire, the latter including Northwich, Winsford and Knutsford.

Gary Haywood, INEOS Shale CEO said: “Meeting town and parish councils is the beginning of our long-term conversation with communities.

“We are committed to meeting with and addressing the concerns of local people and are starting with their community representatives.

“We look forward to holding a programme of open public exhibition events in the coming weeks and months, where we will listen to the concerns that local people have and answer their questions.”

INEOS Shale is launching a series of meetings with local parish and town councils in support of its plans for shale gas extraction in the area.

Today’s meetings at Frodsham Community Centre will provide an opportunity for councillors to learn more about the company and hear its view of how shale gas can be extracted safely and with due regard for the built and natural environment.

“This is the beginning of INEOS’ commitment to an effective, transparent and on-going interaction with local communities,” said an INEOS spokesman.

“Parish and town councillors are elected by the communities to represent them and we believe it is right to start our conversation with those representatives.

“Consultation open to the wider public will take place in the coming months as our plans to acquire seismic data and drill vertical coring wells to take samples of the shale rock take shape.”