The Quantock Hills and Fracking

In response to questions about the Government's recent decision to allow fracking licenses in protected landscapes, including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Quantock Hills AONB Manager Chris Edwards writes:

"The northern end of the Quantock Hills AONB is included in an area which the Government has licenced for commercial exploration for oil and gas. The law does not allow drilling rigs or platforms to be built within AONBs, however it does now allow fracking to take place under AONBs with the plant outside the AONB boundary. A company wishing to develop this option would need landowner consent, Environment Agency assessments and planning permission before any drilling could be carried out. The area involved includes the coastal areas of the Somerset Levels (Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve) and part of the Mendip Hills AONB. There are, with good reason, multiple environmental designations in place across the identified zone giving rise to major cause for concern on that front. Additionally the zone includes Hinkley Point nuclear power station (s) which also raises concern in respect of any interference with ground stability.

The granting of this license indicates that the government feels this area has potential for fracking. However, any commercial interest would need to take into account the length of time it would take to gain the necessary data and permissions. The consultation processes required would need to allow an appropriate scale of scrutiny and campaigning to take place. It would appear that fracking in this area could lead to the non-designated rural landscape becoming industrialised in an unacceptable way, with the unknown potential of additional consequences, including land stability.

The Quantock Hills AONB Service will certainly be discussing the risks and potential responses with colleagues, environmental groups and local bodies in the near future."

Katy Coate - January 2016


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Annual Reports

View Annual reports from the Quantock AONB Service

Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund

The Quantock Hills AONB Service now has a Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund providing grants of up to £20,000 to local communities, farmers, landowners and individuals. The fund has been provided by EDF Energy and is part of the mitigation measures associated with the Hinkley Point C development.

Information leaflets

Find out more about the geology of the Quantock Hills AONB, why the heathland is so important for birds, the red deer on the Quantocks and why the history of the landscape is so special.

Other organisations and activities in the Quantocks

A few things you might find interesting from organisations we work with in the Quantocks

Photography Competition Entry Form

Please down load and return with your fabulous entries

Policys and Codes of Conduct

Everyone enjoys spending their time on the hills doing different activities. Below are some guidance and policy documents to ensure they are carried out safely and that wider regulations are followed.

Quantock Deer Count Results

Annual deer count results for 2010 to 2017

Quantock Hills and Planning

Downloadable documents for you to better understand the Quantock AONB and planning processes

Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) Papers 2014 - 2017

Papers from the partnership committee the Joint Advisory Committee

Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019

This is the the Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019. It will guide work carried out to protect and enhance the Quantock Hills by the AONB team and all our partners. It has been agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment and adopted by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Recreation Leaflets

a full range of leaflets from circular walks to event guides and leaflets to allow you to enjoy the best of the hills

Terms and Conditions for Quantock Hills Facebook page

Terms and Conditions for

Tick Leaflet

Ticks are becoming more common and a bite from this spider-like parasite could lead to Lyme Disease. This is a treatable infection caused by bacterium transmitted by ticks when they bite. Not every tick carries Lyme Disease and it is important to realise that the disease is relatively rare.


Useful Contacts

Quantock AONB Service
Tel: 01823 451 884

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01823 652 400

National Trust
Tel: 01823 451 814

Forestry Commission
Tel: 01278 732 319