The British government approved a new shale gas fracking permit on Oct. 6, overruling a local authority decision and boosting Britain's position as Europe's most promising shale gas exploration ground.
Britain's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid gave the go-ahead for shale gas company Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. to carry out hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at a site in northwest England.
He also said he was minded to approve a second permit but has asked for further evidence on road safety.
The government used new powers to overturn Lancashire County Council rejection of two permits in 2015 due to concerns about noise and traffic.
Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of shale gas trapped in underground rocks and the government wants to see these resources extracted to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas output.
"We are very pleased that we can now move ahead with our shale gas exploration plans. We are confident that our operations will be safe and responsible," Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said in a statement.
With another shale gas fracking permit approved by a local authority earlier this year, Britain is Europe's most advanced shale gas exploration ground after projects in Poland were unsuccessful.
But it has been controversial because environmental groups say the technique causes problems including pollution of the water table.
"Instead of shoving us down a dangerous path that inevitably leads to climate change, the government should invest in renewables and energy efficiency," said Helen Rimmer, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth environmental group.