A BOLTON MP has congratulated a local firm on being awarded a contract related to fracking in Lancashire — but says he still believes the controversial process should not come to Bolton.

Chris Green welcomed news that Lostock-based civil engineering firm AE Yates Ltd has been given a £1.5 million contract to build a shale gas exploration site at Little Plumpton site in Lancashire by drilling firm Cuadrilla.

However, the Conservative MP said the news has ‘no bearing’ on his own views regarding whether fracking should take place in Bolton.

Much of Mr Green’s Bolton West constituency has been earmarked for potential future fracking — which is the process of drilling into the ground and injecting liquid at high pressure at rocks to release shale gas.

Despite his own government’s backing of the process, Mr Green has previously said he does not believe fracking would be appropriate in his constituency and said the new contract for a firm in the area has not changed this.

He said: “The oil and gas industry has for a long time been a really important part of the British industrial landscape, so a local firm being awarded a contract that will mean employment for staff in this vital industry is great.

“However, this has no bearing on the decision on whether fracking should be allowed in Bolton.

“I am still very sceptical that my constituency of Bolton West is a suitable place for fracking.

“There has still been no application for fracking in the area, so we can’t jump to conclusions and we will have to look at each location on its own merits.

He added: “What happens elsewhere has no bearing on Bolton West because our area is quite an urban environment with quite a few former mining areas, so it is different.

“However, if there are jobs being made available then I wish local firms such as A E Yates Ltd every success in getting those contracts.”

Work at Little Plumpton is expected to start early next year.