IS nothing sacred? Fracking within a National Park is banned. But apparently it may be possible to drive an underground horizontal shaft sideways from outside park boundaries to extract any shale gas that might be there.

Fracking firm INEOS wants to carry out a geological survey of rock strata under the North York Moors. “Whilst drilling will never take place in a National Park, we can frack underneath without impact on the surface above,” a spokesman said.

Not if the park authority can help it. It insists a 3.5 km buffer zone should prevent such an approach. A major planning battle is now looming.

We’re with the park authority on this one. This really would be a frack too far.