By Saul Cooke-Black

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after fears that fracking could take place in Sharpness were assuaged.

The South Wales-based exploration company South Western Energy has confirmed it has pulled out of fracking licences for the Forest of Dean, which would have impacted across the Stroud district.

Owen Adams, campaign co-ordinator at Frack Off Our Forest, said: "This result is testament to people power and a near-united community.

"We will continue to go all out to ensure its extinction everywhere, to ensure it doesn't rear its head again locally and also to join in with concerted anti-frackers everywhere, from Somerset to Lancashire and Yorkshire, from Standing Rock, Dakota to Pilliga Forest, New South Wales.

"Their fight is our fight and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them, as this issue affects us all.

"We call on our Government and others to please stop this fracking madness and invest in a clean, renewable and energy-efficiency future.

"We have no choice but to stop fracking for the sake of future generations and the planet.

"The evidence of harm caused by extreme energy is overwhelming.

"To claim otherwise is reprehensible and extremely irresponsible. Every one of the Government's flimsy arguments for fracking can be easily dismantled. We have many ways of keeping the lights on that don't involve fracking.

Campaigners will be gathering outside Barclays Bank in Stroud today from 1.30pm to 2.30pm to celebrate the news and to campaign against any future fracking in other areas of the country.

Mr Adams said that campaigners would now be calling on Gloucestershire County and Stroud District Councils to ensure there are safeguards to prevent any future proposals.

He said they would also be calling on the Environment Agency to offer protections to the areas.

The controversial practice, which involves drilling into the earth to release gas inside rocks, is intended to help reduce energy bills but many are concerned about its impact on the environment.

A spokesperson for the Oil and Gas Authority confirmed in a statement: “The OGA can confirm that some blocks offered under the 14th Onshore Licensing Round have not been accepted by those to whom they were offered.

"This means that the licences pertaining to these blocks will not be awarded.

"The blocks concerned include SO50, SO51, SO60a, SO60b, SO61, ST84, ST85, ST94 and ST95, which are near the Forest of Dean and near Wiltshire."