POLITICIANS have expressed concerns after the Government gave the go-ahead for fracking tests across the whole of Bolton.

A licence has been awarded to drilling firm Hutton Energy which allows them to carry out test drilling for the controversial process of shale gas extraction across the whole of the borough.

This follows on from a licence being offered to Osprey in the summer, allowing similar drilling to take place in a patch of land covering Horwich, Blackrod, Rivington and Belmont.

The licences give companies the right to explore for shale and oil gas, but not permission to drill.

Fracking is something which divides opinion — with arguments that it will bring key economic benefits met by those who fear it will badly impact the environment.

Bolton MPs David Crausby and Chris Green may differ politically — but they both believe more information is needed about the controversial process.

Mr Crausby, Labour’s MP for Bolton North East, said: “I am not completely opposed to fracking but I just wonder why there is such a hurry.

“This generation, the last one and the next one will have used all the world’s fossil fuels, so why is there such a rush? We should leave something for our children.”

He added: “In the long run we will probably need to frack but we need to do it safely so we shouldn’t be rushing in to it.”

Mr Green, the Tory MP for Bolton West is planning to hold a public meeting with Osprey — the firm handed the test license for land in his constituency.

He said: “It is important that they know about the concerns of local people and can also explain what they want to do and what impact it will have.”

He added: “When the company releases the full details of what they want to do then I, and others will be able to scrutinize them thoroughly and come to a conclusion.”

Bolton Council’s ruling Labour group has already said it will oppose fracking "as a starting point".

Cllr Nick Peel said: “We don’t feel there is enough information to address the number of concerns that people have.

“We need more research to show that fracking really is safe — so we do not support the opening up of Bolton for fracking.”