The controversial process of fracking for shale gas will resume at a site near Blackpool in Lancashire, Cuadrilla has confirmed.

The company said it would remobilise hydraulic fracturing equipment in the third quarter of 2019.

If added that subject to regulatory approvals the work will be complete by the end of November this year.

Cuadrilla repeatedly had to stop operations at the Preston New Road site last year because of minor seismic events.

British rules mean fracking must be suspended if activity of magnitude 0.5 or more on the Richter scale is detected – much lower than the threshold in the US.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting water and chemicals at high pressure to break up rock and extract gas.

However, it can cause tremors and is opposed by environmentalists who say it can also contaminate drinking water. Protesters have been a regular fixture at the Lancashire site.

Cuadrilla hopes that its exploratory tests there will show the potential of shale gas for the UK – and says that around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas has been estimated to be contained in the area.

It wants to gain more data for a review of what it calls the exceedingly low limit on seismic activity associated with fracking in the UK.

The government, however, has previously said it has no plans to change the threshold, and earlier this year Greater Manchester banned fracking across all its councils.

Scotland is also weighing up a ban, after a moratorium on fracking in the country since 2015.

Francis Egan, the firm’s chief executive, said: Work to date on what is probably the most highly monitored onshore oil and gas site in the world has proved that this is an entirely safe, well run and well-regulated operation – and there is no doubt that the opportunity for the UK is huge.

Supporters of fracking say it would create thousands of jobs and reduce the need to import gas via pipelines from Europe.
(c) Sky News 2019: Fracking to restart at site near Blackpool, says operator Cuadrilla