Energy company Cuadrilla has received the final go-ahead from the Government to frack a second exploration well at a site in Lancashire.
The shale firm has already been given the green light by ministers for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, at the first well it has drilled at the Preston New Road site, and has planning and environmental permits in place for both wells.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We are delighted to receive this consent.
“We are currently completing works on site in readiness to start hydraulically fracturing both wells in the next few weeks.”
Cuadrilla claims there is a need for the UK to have a new and reliable source of natural gas, which it calls the “cleanest fossil fuel”.
But the move by energy minister Claire Perry to grant the go-ahead for the second fracking well during parliamentary recess has prompted criticism from opponents of the controversial process for extracting shale gas.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the move meant MPs, including those from the Conservative Party, could not hold the Government to account.
“The fiasco of allowing fracking at Preston New Road has been an exercise in trampling over democracy and the wishes of local people,” she said.
“The Government is paving the way for a whole new fossil fuel industry just when we should be dramatically reducing our reliance on dirty energy.
“If they continue down this road, they’ll face a growing backlash in Parliament and across the country.”