Green energy firm Ecotricity is challenging the shale gas industry by submitting planning applications for green gas mills using grass grown on UK farmland on two of the proposed fracking sites in Lancashire where the Government recently overruled local planning objections.

The company has put in green gas mill applications for the sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood near Blackpoolin a bid to draw attention to the potential of green gas as an alternative to fracking. In a report released last month, the company unveiled a national plan for Britain to generate gas using species-rich grass grown on farmland.

The report, Green Gas: The Opportunity for Britain, found that there is enough grassland to provide almost all of Britain’s household gas demand by 2035. It said this would create a new industry, supporting 150,000 jobs and pumping £7.5 billion into the economy every year. The report claims making gas from grass would cut cuts carbon emissions, create wildlife habitats on an unprecedented scale, improve soils for food production and provide support for farmers who are set to lose EU subsidies following Brexit.

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, said: “We want to show that there‘s an alternative to fracking – and start a local debate in the areas directly affected by it, in the same way we want to start a debate at the national level, including the House of Commons.”

Ecotricity recently won planning permission to build its first green gas mill in Hampshire – one of six sites in development. However the company’s latest applications at potential fracking sites in Lancashire, are part of a wider strategic campaign to prevent shale gas exploitation, highlight the lack of democracy in the planning process ¬and illustrate there is an alternative way to make gas. Ecotricity has also financially supported the legal action taken by communities against fracking at Ryedale in Yorkshire and Balcombe in West Sussex.

Dale Vince continued: “We want to show that there‘s an alternative to fracking – and start a local debate in the areas directly affected by it, in the same way we want to start a debate at the national level, including the House of Commons."

The company has launched a petition urging the Government to reconsider where Britain will get its gas from in future.

“Green gas is something that local communities should be able to choose instead of fracking," said Mr Vince. “That’s why we’re calling on Theresa May to think again and look at green gas as the genuine alternative.”