The latest episode of the fracking drama could be coming to Burnley, after the government released new licences allowing companies to explore for shale gas.
Ministers announced this week that they have awarded 27 new exploration licenses, as well as consulting on plans to award a further 132.
If these sites got the go-ahead campaigners will be out there barricading themselves to the sitesDavid Penney, Keep East Lancashire Frack Free
Burnley, as well as nearby Brierfield, Colne and Rossendale, is one of the areas where the licence is currently being held back while further consultation takes place.
This means the area will be offered to shale gas exploration companies unless a pressing environmental or natural habitat objection is discovered.
The consultation period will end late next month.
The news comes less than a week after the government confirmed they will now be able to fast-track fracking applications if local councils take longer than 16 weeks to make a decision.
Despite the new fast-track rule, Burnley MP Julie Cooper says that if it was to happen, there would be a long way to go before it comes to Burnley.
She said: “Any fracking that could potentially come to Burnley soil without proper consultation and testing I would have to oppose.
“However it’s an important issue we need to get right.
“If the lights go off and we run out of energy everybody will be saying we didn’t do it when we had the chance.
“But if we go ahead without ensuring it’s safe then there could be lots of potential dangers.
“If it does happen, it needs to be safe and it needs to be regulated.”
Fracking is a process where water, sand and chemicals are blasted at shale rocks to try to release the gas trapped within, but has proved unpopular due to environmental concerns.
David Penney, of Keep East Lancashire Frack Free, says the area is entering a fracking nightmare.
He said: “Due to the governments persistence we need to embark on a period of peaceful demonstration.
“We feel we’ve got a real battle on our hands — we don’t want to suffer the same issues they have done over in America.
“If these sites got the go-ahead campaigners will be out there barricading themselves to the sites.”
However not everybody in the area is against the idea of fracking coming to Burnley.
Retired oil rig worker Anthony Shaw, said: “I don’t see what all the fuss is about.
“They’ve been doing similar things in Wytch Farm in Dorset for years and there’s been no issues and nobody’s complained.”
Here’s more on the fracking furore: