According to a report in The Telegraph, energy company Cuadrilla has identified two sites where it plans to carry out hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
If permission to carry out the drilling is granted and there are no planning issues, fracking could begin in 2015.
Any drilling would be closely monitored
The announcement marks the first time Cuadrilla has applied for drilling permission since an 18 month ban on fracking expired in 2011. The ban was implemented due to earth tremors being caused by fracking being carried out by Cuadrilla.
Cuadrilla has said it plans to closely monitor any seismic activity should the drilling take place.
Local communities are expected to be given up to £400,000 in government grants and 1% of revenues should any gas be extracted.
‘We’re committed to being a good neighbour and to talking with the community’
Chief Executive of Cuadrilla Francis Egan said: “We’ve been working hard to assess our site options and have undertaken extensive technical and geological analysis.
“As a result of this work, we have decided to focus on just two sites at this time.
“This will allow us to reduce the potential impact on the local area during exploration while still gathering the important information we need to determine how much gas could be recovered.
“We’re committed to being a good neighbour and to talking with the community at every stage of the process.”
Cameron: ‘Great mistake if we didn’t enable this industry to develop’
Speaking in January, Prime Minister David Cameron said of fracking: “If there’s an opportunity to extract clean, low-cost gas from shale in the UK we would be making a great mistake if we didn’t enable this industry to develop”.
He added that the process could result in the creation of up to 74,000 jobs and attract in £3.5 billion of investment in to the UK.
The process remains controversial and reports issued in the past few months have suggested the process could lead to severe health issues for those living in the vicinity of a drill site.