Nottinghamshire County Council has signed off a legal agreement with private energy companies for the sites off Springs Road, near Misson, and farmland off the A634 between Barnby Moor and Blyth, near Worksop.
The council insists no fracking will be allowed and has also attached stringent conditions to the exploratory drilling. But protesters fear the planning consent, which lasts for three years, will open the floodgates for “mass industrialisation of huge swathes of the rural countryside” across the county,
“We are very disappointed that this is going ahead,” said Paul Frost, of the campaign group, Frack Free Nottinghamshire (FFN). “The process is dangerous and damaging.
“It is good that conditions have been applied, but the fact that there are so many shows that people were right to be concerned.
“We oppose exploratory drilling because there is no reason for it other than the companies fracking eventually. We will continue to fight because to make this commercially viable, the companies need hundreds of wells. They want to turn the whole area into a big gas field.
“They are only in it for the money and to hell with the consequences. They don’t care about local people or the environment.”
A total of 37 conditions have been attached to the Misson site, a former Cold War missile-launch pad, while the site near Worksop carries 52 conditions.
The council says the conditions, which include designated codes of conduct, are designed to cover concerns over traffic, noise and ecology after protests, feedback and consultation with more than 3,400 people and 80 organisations covering the two sites.
However, Mr Frost said: “We will be watching like hawks because companies find it difficult to adhere to these conditions and, in other areas of the country, breaches have occurred.”