The company behind controversial plans to extract gas from under Lancashire are due to start ‘sonar’ studies of farmland in Wyre early next year.
Cuadrilla Resources, which is searching for gas reserves locked in shale at a site near Hesketh Bank, Southport, will have engineers carrying out searches on land across Wyre from February.
The process is called ‘fracking’ and has proved controversial, with exploratory drilling this year being linked to tremors on the Fylde coast.
A spokesman said it was speaking with local landowners to secure access on to sites of interest.
He said: “It is a feasibility study to look for areas where there is a large amount of shale to add to data we have already collected from our exploratory drilling.
“There will not be any work starting until the start of the year.”
The company has carried out exploratory work at Singleton and Weeton on the Fylde coast and currently has a drilling rig on farmland between Hesketh Bank and Banks.
Meanwhile, a public meeting is being staged at Poulton on tonight (Monday November 28) to allow residents to find out more about the process.
The question and answer session is being held at the church hall, Vicarage Lane, Poulton, near to the Thatched House pub, beginning at 7pm.
It has been organised by a group of residents who are concerned about how the process may affect the local environment.
One of those involved is Lynda Lancaster, of Wrea Green, who said: “One of my concerns is the possible pollution of water.
“There is no guarantee that the frack fluid involved in the process will not contaminate the underground water as only 50 per cent of the 1,000 gallons of water it takes to track one well comes back up.
“Some local farmers use borehole water. The cows drink the water and we drink the milk, so there could be wider implications in this process.
“I think people will need to know the full consequences if full gas production is granted.
“That is why we are organising this meeting, then people will be able to make up their own minds.”
She added: “Tracking is a process which requires minimal legislation and it is likely to expand rapidly in the next 10 years.”