CAMPAIGNERS have made a list-ditch plea to a government minister to refuse final planning consent for fracking in Lancashire.

As exploratory drilling by gas firm Cuadrilla started at the Preston New Road site yesterday Friends of the Earth and local residents called on business and energy secretary Greg Clark to halt the work.

The cabinet minister still has to give final consent before the full controversial hydraulic fracturing process can begin.

Lancashire County Councillors voted to reject fracking at the site in 2015, but the decision was overturned by the government.

Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth North West campaigner, said: “Fracking is bad news for the local community, bad news for our environment and is the wrong solution to our energy needs.

“But it’s not too late for the government to admit that it has got it wrong on fracking and put an end to this risky industry before it starts. Now is the time for Greg Clark to show he’s serious about climate change and say no to fracking before it begins.”

A spokesperson from Preston New Road Action Group said: “We are bitterly disappointed that Cuadrilla have reportedly commenced drilling at the Preston New Road site, despite a legal challenge still being in progress.”