THE RSPB is warning that more than 60 of the South West’s most important wildlife sites, including Salisbury Plain, are at risk from fracking.

This comes after an analysis of the areas of land the government have offered to energy companies to explore for oil and gas.

At least 66 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the South West have been included in the 159 oil and gas licences the government have offered to energy companies to date.

An SSSI is a conservation designation given to a protected area.

Phil Sheldrake, conservation officer for the RSPB in Wessex, said: “There are four 10km squares proposed in the 14th licensing round in Wiltshire, four of these are centred on the western reaches of the Salisbury Plain chalk plateau.”

An unknown company has applied for licences to drill in four areas in central Wiltshire, including Codford. A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “Wiltshire Council will give its considered views on the consultation in general and the technical assessment, with particular reference to the four blocks in the Wiltshire area.”