Plans to carry out controversial fracking in Lancashire are due to be submitted before the end of this month.
Cuadrilla has announced they will lodge a planning application to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at Preston New Road, to the West of Little Plumpton.
But environmental campaigners said they would closely scrutinise the plans, claiming fracking “causes more problems than it solves”.
The plans follow public consultations and once the application has been validated by Lancashire County Council, it is expected to be decided within 16 weeks.
A separate planning application for a second proposed exploration site, at Roseacre Wood, will also be submitted a few weeks after the Preston New Road application.
Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan said: “This application could be a really important milestone for Lancashire and the UK as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s shale gas potential. We have undertaken extensive consultation and engagement with the local communities on these applications and have listened carefully to what people have told us.”
Friends of the Earth North West campaigner, Helen Rimmer, said: “The Government and the industry have teamed up to promote fracking ahead of Cuadrilla submitting these planning applications – yet in spite of the hype, public support for shale gas in the UK has fallen below 50 per cent for the first time.
“The public are rightly concerned that fracking causes more problems than it solves – there are risks for our water supply, our health and the beautiful Lancashire environment, and it won’t lower energy bills or create anywhere near as many jobs as renewables. Friends of the Earth will be supporting local communities to scrutinise these plans.”