RUMOURS that fracking is set to take place in Chorley later this year have been quashed after a document circulating on social media was found to be fake.

Bosses at Chorley Council are warning of the dangers of fake news on social media and quickly moved to reassure residents that there are no plans for fracking anywhere in the borough.

It comes after a document stating that work was due to start at Healey Nab, off Higher House Lane, in November was alleged to have been ‘found on a pen drive on a council car park’.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “I was as surprised as anyone when I saw the document but once you started to read it, it was fairly obvious that the information on it had been made up.

“Social media can be a dangerous place when it comes to circulating rumours and this document had obviously caused unnecessary concern for residents in that area.

“I’d like to thank the administrators of the Chorley Then and Now Facebook group who removed the post and contacted us for clarification and I’d urge anyone to be mindful that not everything you read on social media is true.”

There have been several anti-fracking petitions and demonstrations in Lancashire over the past few years and the Frack Free Chorley and South Ribble group have played a major part in protesting against fracking in local areas.

Fracking licences covering the Chorley area were awarded by the Oil and Gas Authority in 2016 but a planning application, which would be widely consulted on and determined by Lancashire County Council, would have to be approved before any fracking would be able to take place.

“When it comes to fracking we are in the same position as many other places in the country where a licence is in place but until any planning application is submitted there isn’t a debate to be had but I am fairly sure residents would not welcome anything that affects one of our primary beauty spots,” said Councillor Bradley.

“This appears to be someone’s attempt to peddle fake news right here in Chorley.

“I’m really disappointed that someone would be trying to scaremonger residents in Chorley and both Cuadrilla, which was the operator named in the document, and Lancashire County Council, have confirmed it was blatantly untrue.

“Although people might see a funny side to posting content like this on social media it isn’t helpful and only fuels confusion.”

The document entitled ‘Detailed Site Assessment’ claimed the site at Healey Nab is ‘readily developable’ with ‘works commencing on in 2018’