CAMPAIGNERS against underground coal gasification and fracking in Wirral will stage a peaceful protest tonight as councillors discuss the controversial issue.

A notice of motion submitted by West Kirby and Thurstaston Conservative Cllr Geoffrey Watt calls on the authority to confirm its opposition to unconventional gas extraction, including underground coal gasification, coal bed methane and fracking under Wirral, its offshore coastal waters and the Dee and Mersey estuaries.

Cllr Watt says such an opposition should be made until “such time as the council is satisfied as to the safety of the process and that the risk of adverse environmental impacts have been fully addressed”.

He also instructs chief executive Graham Burgess to write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and to Wirral’s four MPs, informing them of the decision.

Local groups Wirral Against Fracking and Artists Against Fracking will be presenting a petition containing more than 1,400 signatures at Wallasey town hall tonight.

Fiona Skelly, from Artists Against Fracking, said: “The full council is meeting at 6.15pm and there is an item on the agenda to address the issue of allowing planning permission for unconventional gas companies to carry out fracking, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification on the Wirral.

“We are requesting that the council reject all licenses and planning applications on the grounds of substantial global and growing evidence of disastrous effects on the environment and public health from various areas across the USA and Australia that are already using these methods.”

Fiona added: “We will gather outside the building in peaceful protest at 5.30pm to show the councillors that the public of Wirral are very concerned and to publicly raise awareness as many people still have no idea that this is happening in the UK.”