Fracking could become commonplace in Sussex after a Government map has revealed much of the county has been earmarked as potential drilling sites.

The map (pictured) shows areas offered licences for exploratory drilling, which includes a huge chunk of Sussex.

An area from Shoreham, all the way through Worthing to Littlehampton and north of Findon, is one identified by the Government for potential drilling.

It is understood the area was offered to energy firms in 2008, but so far nobody has put in a bid.

But Worthing Against Fracking (WAF) campaigners believe if exploratory drilling is successful in Balcombe, it would only be a matter of time until a company bids to do the same in Worthing.

WAF spokesman Trevor Hodgson said: “There is a considerable amount of unease and concern about the prospect of large-scale fracking across Sussex. A lot of people are simply unaware that Cuadrilla’s operation at Balcombe is just a very thin end of a very thick and dangerous wedge.

“Fracking companies are looking to extract shale gas and oil from a massive swathe of the countryside, with 6,000 separate wells a real possibility for Sussex. The feeling of the meeting was very strongly that this has got to be opposed all the way. We are urging people to take a trip to Balcombe and showtheir support and to write to local authorities, MPs and so on.

“WAF will also be organising events in Worthing so we can let more of our fellow citizens know exactly what is being planned and how we can fight this insidious industrialisation of our beautiful countryside.”

The maps have been released to coincide with David Cameron's claim that areas allowing fracking would immediately see £1 million ploughed into the local economy.

The prime minister said Britain would be “making a big mistake” if it did not seriously consider fracking and the prospect of cheaper gas.

He said the country is “missing out big time” as he compared the number of shale gas wells in Europe compared with the US.

“What we are looking at is trying to have a very simple system where every time a well is dug, immediately £1 million goes to the local community and not just to the local council but actually to local people so people can see a cash benefit in their local village, in their local townand even, potentially in their local pocket as well.”

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