BGS said in a statement: “It is vital that the UK builds the best-possible geological evidence base to be able to optimise the use of the subsurface without an adverse impact on the environment. Providing the very best evidence base on UK geology has been the role of the BGS for the last 180 years. As the UK’s leading research centre in geoscience, this continues to be our primary objective.”

The new energy centre at the University of Chester's Thornton Science Park
The new energy centre at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park (Image: UGC TCH)

Talks are underway that could see the University of Chester involved in the project through its Thornton Science Park.

A spokesperson hit back: “Councillor Matt Bryan is entitled to his view, as are others. The term ‘fracking research centre’ is one coined by the media and does not, in our view, reflect the scope of the work which is proposed by the British Geological Survey for Ince Marshes.

“Should the University of Chester enter into a formal agreement with the BGS, it would be in the interests of supporting the objective and nationally significant science which could inform the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy and provide renewable energy solutions for the future.”