‘FRACKING’ is likely to be restarted in Lancashire despite the practice being proven to have triggered earthquakes.

Drilling for shale gas, known as fracking, near Blackpool was halted last year as bosses at Cuadrilla Resources aimed to exploit the estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of gas under the ground across the ‘Bowland basin’.

But the firm has now been told it can restart drilling after it had accepted the stringent recommendations from Government-commissioned experts who said that even a tremor too small to be noticed above ground should result in an immediate shutdown.

Remedial action would then have to be carried out before work could be resumed.

The independent report also calls for careful monitoring of the site using arrays of seismic sensors and steps to ensure excess pressure cannot build up beneath the ground.

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, involves injecting high pressure water and chemicals into shale rock to release trapped natural gas.

Well operator Cuadrilla Resources said that the gas spreads underground as far east in Lancashire in the Ribble Valley and Pendle and said that it could drill hundreds of wells in Lancashire to tap into vast gas resources.

Cuadrilla chief executive Mark Miller said: “We are pleased that the experts have come to a clear conclusion that it is safe to allow us to resume hydraulic fracturing, following the procedures outlined in the review.”

Green campaigners Friends of the Earth have called for a full scientific assessment of all the impacts of fracking.