A controversial method of extracting natural gas that could help provide cheap energy should be allowed to resume in the UK, a panel appointed by the government has said.
Tests of the drilling method - known as fracking - had been suspended last year after it triggered two earth tremors near Blackpool, but the experts said this is unlikely to be a significant issue.
While more minor quakes are likely to be experienced as a result of fracking activities, it has been estimated they will be too small to cause any structural damage.
Last year's two movements in Blackpool were measured at magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5, which were large enough to be felt on the surface, but not to cause any major problems.
The process, which involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure in order to extract gas trapped within, is seen by some analysts as a way of securing relatively cheap natural gas supplies at a time when wholesale prices are highly volatile.
However, environmental groups have raised concerns about the potential impact of the activity on local areas.
As well as causing earth tremors, fracking operations in the US are claimed to have resulted in the contamination of water supplies and increased the risk of explosions.
Director of Friends of the Earth Andy Atkins said committing to greater use of shale gas will also make it more difficult for the country to achieve its carbon reduction goals.
"We don't need earth tremor-causing fracking to meet our power needs - we need a seismic shift in energy policy," he said.
The independent report will now go to consultation before a final decision is taken on whether to proceed with fracking operations and will run for the next six weeks, with interested parties invited to put forward their views.
Chief scientific advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change David MacKay said: "If shale gas is to be part of the UK's energy mix we need to have a good understanding of its potential environmental impacts and what can be done to mitigate those impacts."
If you want to find out more about your energy options and how you could save hundreds of pounds in minutes, click here.
Share this story with your friends:-