THE Green Party's Warrington North candidate showed her support to fracking protesters at Woolston Protection Camp by joining them last Wednesday.

Sarah Hayes visited the camp, which is adjacent to the M6 junction 21, to voice her concerns with energy firm IGas's test drilling at the site.

IGas is drilling for coal bed methane - the gas that is trapped in coal seams.

"The Green Party opposes all onshore and offshore exploration, development, and production of coal bed methane, as well as oil shale and shale gas and calls for UK licences to be withdrawn," said Mrs Hayes.

"The environmental impact of these techniques is huge."

Mrs Hayes also raised the potential dangers to Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve and the River Mersey.

"Furthermore, the methane extracted by coal bed methane drilling won't be used to benefit the general public, it is to be used as a source of ethane, the feedstock for Swiss company Ineos's petrochemicals plants after Ineos and IGas signed a £30 million shale gas deal only last month," she added.

"This site is very close to the Woolston Eyes nature reserve and to the River Mersey - the potential for spills and contamination is huge.

"There is plenty of evidence out there that coal bed methane extraction and fracking are dangerous, yet the public have not been consulted and are being kept in the dark.

"IGas's plans have so far been kept very quiet, but now it's time to shine a light on them and make sure the people of Warrington know what's going on."

One protester she spoke to, Gary Eckersley, is urging the public and Government to change its perception over the environment.

IGas has not commented.

But on its site said: "The entire process is reversible and any gas left in the wellbore is re-adsorbed by the coal, which makes coal bed methane inherently safer than conventional gas reservoirs.

"Natural gas from coal has the potential to be an important new source of energy for this country."