WWF also said that investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency were better ways to boost UK energy security, and that they enjoyed strong public support.
Jenny Banks, climate and energy specialist at WWF-UK, said: Tackling climate change means at least two thirds of the world's fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. The UK Government should draw a line and leave shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels in the ground rather than opening up half the country for drilling.
"To improve our energy security we should invest in energy efficiency and building sustainable renewables which, unlike shale gas, will not run out. This makes environmental sense and will also be far more appealing to the British public in light of recent poll findings which showed that 59% of the British public support onshore wind as opposed to only 36% in favour of fracking." 
Notes to editors:
1. DECC: New onshore licensing round opens https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-onshore-licensing-round-opens
George Smeeton, Media Relations Manager WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 388, mob: 07917 052 948, email: GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk, twitter: @GSmeeton