Fracking is set to be the next frontier for the UK's oil and gas industry, after the government lifted restrictions on the controversial practice on Thursday, giving a green light to drilling that could produce billions of pounds worth of gas.

The first new site is likely to be at Anna's Road in Lancashire, near three exploratory fracking wells that were closed after they caused two minor earthquakes last year. Dozens more sites across the country could be licensed as ministers signalled their hope that shale gas would help to make up for the decline in North Sea gas supplies.

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