'The Church of England has laid claim to over half a million acres of underground mineral resources, it emerged last night.
Since 2010 the church has registered ownership of privately owned land covering an area the size of the Lake District, including in regions earmarked for fracking, it has been claimed.
Thousands of people have allegedly been warned that they do not own potentially valuable deposits under their land.
n most cases, this is land that the church used to own but is now held privately, according to The Times.
The church has insisted it has no plans to profit from fracking, although ancient property laws give it the right to cash from the extraction of stone, metals and other minerals in the earth.
A recent report by the church’s investment bodies concluded that there was no Christian reason to object to the extraction of underground resources as long as the environment and local communities were protected.
The church cannot profit directly from fracking because shale gas, such as oil, is owned by the Crown.
But lawyers have suggested that it could seek compensation from fracking companies that want to drill through its minerals.'
Read more: Church of England insists it has mining rights of area the size of the Lake District - even though it doesn't own the land
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