A surge of protest is set to erupt across the country as shockwaves from the government decision to restart shale gas fracking push people into action.
The process had been halted 18 months ago after two earthquakes were felt at the surface near Blackpool, where energy firm Cuadrilla was carrying out tests.
Environmental activists Frack Off said local groups had already sprung up around Britain ready to fight any fracking plans and they expected protests to break out.
Fracking - shorthand for hydraulic fracturing - involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.
A government report earlier this year gave the green light to continue provided monitoring systems were in place to halt extraction if a quake looks likely.
today Energy Secretary Ed Davey ended the moratorium, saying safeguards would be put in place before Cuadrilla could resume - but now huge areas are threatened with potential exploitation.
Fracking is widespread in the US, where many environmental problems included contaminated water supplies have been linked to the practice.
Frack Off campaigner Lilly Morse said: "The long-expected announcement is the start of a major battle over what sort of world we will leave to our children.
"The government and industry's promises of cheap, abundant gas are deluded.
"In the US the gas bubble has already burst, with fracking companies on the verge of bankruptcy.
"Fracking is dirty, destructive and extremely expensive, and could never deliver the quantities of gas envisaged."
Greenpeace energy campaigner Leila Deen said: "Energy analysts agree the UK cannot replicate the American experience of fracking, and that shale gas will do little or nothing to lower bills.
"Pinning the UK's energy hopes on an unsubstantiated, polluting fuel is a massive gamble and consumers and the climate will end up paying the price."
The government's decision came on the day its own climate advisers warned that continuing to rely on gas would cost families hundreds of pounds more than if there was a shift to low-carbon power such as wind.
Cuadrilla is currently the only company which has started fracking in Britain.
It claims reserves in Lancashire could supply a quarter of Britain's demand for gas.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said it was concerned over possible damage to the countryside and that planning decisions could be taken out of the hands of local communities.
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