The decision has received a warm welcome from industry which believes a home grown onshore gas sector will provide energy, raw materials and jobs.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Developing a viable shale industry in Lancashire will have positive economic implications for the region in terms of investment, jobs and supply chain engagement and has the potential to provide security of energy supply to manufacturers.
The onshore oil and gas industry is committed to producing this gas in the safest and most environmentally sensitive way possible and to creating jobs and opportunities in the supply chain
“Today’s announcement means that local businesses will be in pole position for future shale gas supply chain opportunities.”
Ken Cronin, chief executive of onshore gas industry body UKOOG said: “The approval of the application at Preston New Road is an important step forward towards determining what gas resources we have under our feet. We need the gas to heat our homes, produce electricity, supply our industries and to reduce our dependency on imports.
“The onshore oil and gas industry is committed to producing this gas in the safest and most environmentally sensitive way possible and to creating jobs and opportunities in the supply chain.
Lee Petts, Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Lancashire said: “We know from research conducted independently earlier this year by ComRes that half (53 per cent) of Lancashire business decision makers believe that the development of a shale gas industry in Lancashire would have a positive impact on the local economy.
“What we need to see now is this small amount of exploratory drilling and fracking being conducted safely and as quickly as possible so that the results can be analysed and a better understanding gained of the commercial potential of this natural resource.”