THIS week’s landmark ruling to approve fracking in North Yorkshire is unlikely to open the floodgates for controversial oil drilling ventures in Tynedale.

Although the Government has approved the principle of fracking in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, it is thought there are no suitable sites in Northumberland.

But in the wake of the North Yorkshire ruling, both Northumberland National Park and Coun. Paul Kelly, chairman of the strategic planning committee for Northumberland County Council, said any applications would be considered on their merit.

A spokesman for Northumberland National Park said: “We do not expect fracking to be an issue within our area.

“There are currently no Government licence blocks in the immediate vicinity of the national park and research suggests the geology of Northumberland National Park would not make it a priority area for fracking.

“Any proposal for fracking in the park would be considered as a major development and would be considered under the relevant planning policies which state that major development will only take place in exceptional circumstances where proven to be in the public interest.

“We would consider the need for development; the impact on the park and its special qualities and evidence that the activity needs to be in the park and could not take place outside of the park, among other considerations.”

Coun. Paul Kelly, who represents Bywell, said he remained open-minded on the controversial issue.

“We know fracking has been used extensively in the US and, as a result, they have extremely cheap fuel,” he said.

“Fracking is taking place elsewhere on a large scale and I have an open mind because I can see there are significant benefits. But I believe the technology remains to be proven.

“Self-sufficiency in energy is something that is absolutely necessary – especially given what’s happening in the Middle East and the fact that a considerable amount of European energy comes from Russia.

“In principle, I can’t be against it. It would be a new resource which would provide economic benefits and it would protect us from blackmail from suppliers of energy from foreign countries.”