THE go-ahead has been given to restart a controversial gas extraction technique in Lancashire.

Energy company Cuadrilla Resources was stopped from drilling for shale gas, known as fracking, just off the Fylde Coast last year after two small earthquakes.

But conditions imposed by the Government to minimise seismic activity mean the process, which is hoped will help meet the UK’s demand for gas, can now continue.

Fracking involves creating little explosions under-ground, then injecting high-pressure liquid to split rock and extract gas from the ‘Bowland Basin’ under a major part of Lancashire.

Cuadrilla Resources’ chief executive Francis Egan said: “Today’s news is a turning point for the country’s energy future.

“Shale gas has the potential to create jobs, generate tax revenues, reduce our reliance on imported gas, and improve our balance of payments.

“Our exploration has shown that under Lan-cashire there is a belt of gas-filled shale over one mile thick.

“Today’s decision will allow continued exploration and testing of the UK’s very significant shale resources in a way that fulfils the highest environmental and community standards.”

But Frack Off campaigner Lilly Morse said the group believed that the Govern-ment’s decision was “utterly insane”.

She said: “The long expected announcement that the Government will allow frack-ing companies to continue attempts at exploitation of unconventional gas is the start of a major battle over what sort of world we will leave to our children. The Government and industry’s promises of cheap, abundant gas are deluded.

“In the US the gas bubble has already burst with fracking companies on the verge of bankruptcy.

“Drilling has ground to a halt and gas prices have doubled since the beginning of the year.

“Fracking is dirty, destructive and extremely expensive, and could never deliver the quantities of gas envisaged.”