VIDEO: Frack-tion stations

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The Fylde coast must “move fast” to back fracking – or risk losing out on its potential spoils forever, Government bosses have warned.

Gas companies hope to begin extracting shale gas from deep under rural Fylde next year.

Campaigners say the process will detrimentally affect the environment and are determined to thwart production.

But in an exclusive interview with The Gazette, Government chiefs have moved to try and reassure local residents’ they are taking their concerns over the controversial fracking process seriously.

And they have also urged businesses, residents and councils to welcome the “huge opportunity” to transform the economy of the Fylde coast – or risk the industry looking elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

Chris Lockwood, a senior adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “You need to move fast. At the moment we are ahead of the game but that’s won’t last.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies (left) added: “The Prime Minister made very clear in his party conference speech, and perhaps he could have said it differently, he wants to make Blackpool a hub.

“What he meant was a place with economic challenges. There’s pockets of unemployment but a great heritage of technology there and it’s how we harness that.

“If there’s a chance for Blackpool and the Fylde coast we should be looking at doing this. Places like Stoke and even other countries would love to get their hands on this.

“We once again risk something that was a great prize slipping through our fingers.”

For the full story, pick up a copy of today’s Gazette.