A WIRRAL MP is urging the government to rule out fracking in the Dee Estuary, warning it would harm tourism and affect house prices.

Margaret Greenwood has written to Greg Clark, minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, asking for a commitment not to renew the licence held by Cluff Natural Resources Plc for UCG in the Dee Estuary when it expires in January next year.

Earlier this month Ms Greenwood admitted she had 'grave concerns' for the peninsula's coastline after campaigners fighting a Government decision to approve a fracking site in Lancashire lost a High Court action.

Wirral Globe:

Preston New Road Action Group had urged a judge to find the decision to grant a planning application for the site in Fylde was not fair or lawful.

But during a hearing in London Mr Justice Dove dismissed their case at judicial review.

Wirral Globe:

Anti-fracking activists lose High Court ruling over Lancashire site

Ms Greenwood, who represents Wirral West, was a high-profile campaigner in the build-up to the 2015 general election.

She said: "The government says it is phasing out coal-fired power stations, which burn coal at the surface, because they damage air quality and because they are simply not sustainable.

"However, the government has not yet ruled out UCG.

"UCG also damages the environment by burning coal underground to produce energy".

Wirral Globe:

Flashback: Margaret Greenwood with Lord Prescott at West Kirby beach in the 2015 election campaign

"We cannot allow UCG to damage the unique coastline here in Wirral.

"The Hilbre Islands are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the estuary is a place of international importance for migrating birds.

"The sight of seals swimming around the islands is something that should be there for all to enjoy.

"The beaches of Hoylake, West Kirby and Thurstaston are enjoyed by both visitors and local residents.

"Allowing the development of UCG in the Dee Estuary would damage the quality of life in Hoylake, Thurstaston and West Kirby, damage local house prices and put many tourism-related businesses at risk.

"The government should rule out UCG once and for all".

In January 2013, the Coal Authority granted a conditional exploratory licence on behalf of the government for five years to Cluff Natural Resources Plc for UCG in the Dee Estuary.

The company said in July 2015 that it was putting plans for UCG in the estuary on hold to focus on a project in Scotland.

But it did not rule out going ahead in the Dee Estuary at some point in the future.

In its statement at the time, it said that: "While we currently have no plans to do any intrusive work in the area there are a number of political or financial events that could change that position in the future".