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The Government has given the go-ahead to the controversial 'fracking' of shale gas in Lancashire.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has given the green light under the condition that risks such as pollution and earthquakes are minimised.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Davey said the process would bring substantial benefits to the UK’s energy security, the economy and employment.
But he told MPs fracking would only be allowed to go ahead if it was deemed safe, insisting regulations would be tightened "if necessary".
"We are clear that if we go towards commercial development, if the exploration suggests there is potential for commercial development, we will keep the regulatory regime under review and tighten it and strengthen it if necessary."
Downing Street said there was a "great potential" for fracking to drive down energy prices in the UK. "That's something that's attractive about finding another source of energy," a spokesperson said.
But the independent Committee on Climate Change has warned the move could cause in a huge rise in household bills. David Kennedy, the chief executive of the committee, told the Today programme the change could see typical bills rise by up to £600.
Environmentalists also criticised the decision, with Greenpeace claiming George Osborne's "dream of building Dallas in Lancashire" was a "dangerous fantasy".
The company planning the fracking, Cuadrilla, welcomed the decision, describing it as "a turning point for the country's energy future"
Labour has expressed caution about the move, with Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint saying there are "a lot of serious questions that have to be looked at ".
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13/12/2012 on Today, BBC Radio 4
13/12/2012 on Breakfast, Radio 5 Live BBC
13/12/2012 on BBC News
13/12/2012 on Sky News
13/12/2012 on BBC News
13/12/2012 on Daily Politics, BBC Two
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