Fracking begins in the UK for the first time in seven years amid protests

Callum Keown
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Cuadrilla Resources began fracking activity today in Preston (Source: Getty)

Fracking has begun in the UK for the first time since 2011 when it was halted after being linked with earth tremors.

British shale gas company Cuadrilla confirmed today that it has started hydraulic fracturing operations at its exploration site in Lancashire

The road leading to the site was closed for most of the day as protestors gathered to demonstrate against the controversial process of extracting gas from rocks.

Read more: Getting into the flow of it: Cuadrilla gears up to start onshore fracking

Cuadrilla, 47.4 percent owned by Australia's AJ Lucas and 45.2 percent owned by a fund managed by Riverstone, was given permission to drill two wells at its Preston site by the government in 2016.

But work finally began today after campaigners failed with a last-minute legal intervention over safety risks on Friday.

The energy firm said the fracking was expected to last three months, after which the gas would be tested.

Protestors were out in force outside the site, with one man even chaining himself to scaffolding in a bid to stop the process from getting under way.

Read more: Frack yeah: Ineos is now the largest player in the UK's shale industry

“Shale gas has the potential to be a new domestic energy source, enhancing our energy security and delivering economic benefits, including the creation of well-paid, quality jobs,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

“We have been very clear that any shale developments must be safe and environmentally sound,” it added.

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