Hundreds of protesters gather at Bloomfield Road over fracking

Anti-fracking protestors outside Bloomfield Road, the home of Blackpool football club in Lancashire, where the Planning Inspectorate inquiry was due to begin into the decision last June by Lancashire county councillors to reject proposals by energy firm Cuadrilla for exploratory drilliing for shale gas at two sites in Roseacre and Little Plumpton.Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Anti-fracking protestors outside Bloomfield Road, the home of Blackpool football club in Lancashire, where the Planning Inspectorate inquiry was due to begin into the decision last June by Lancashire county councillors to reject proposals by energy firm Cuadrilla for exploratory drilliing for shale gas at two sites in Roseacre and Little Plumpton.Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Battle lines have been drawn at an inquiry which will determine the future of fracking in Lancashire.

Protesters both for and against shale gas extraction gathered outside Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road ground yesterday for the first day of a public inquiry.

What happens in Lancashire impacts all British communities facing this threat

Lancashire County Council rejected Cuadrilla’s applications to drill and test at Roseacre and Preston New Road near Little Plumpton last year.

If Cuadrilla gets the go-ahead to drill, frack and test gas flows at the two sites, it will have huge repercussions for the development of a shale gas industry in the UK.

Residents say it would have a huge impact on their lives as they fear industrialisation of rural areas, plus possible damage to their environment, health and quality of life.

Supporters of fracking say a developed industry could bring benefits through taxes, an increase in jobs and skills, and energy security.