Homeowners hoping to block companies from fracking underneath their homes could be powerless to stop them if new laws are introduced.
The industry body behind the controversial procedure, UKOOG, says they are speaking with the Government over an anomaly in trespass laws which could allow them to frack private land.
The change is expected to be including in a proposed Government Growth Bill, but has been slammed by those opposed to the method of drilling for shale gas.
The move would give companies access to more land to carry out the procedure of hydraulically fracturing rock deep underground, and pumping it with water and chemicals to extract the gas.
Ian Roberts, chairman of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF), said: “It’s shocking that the Government is prepared to sweep aside the rules to change the democratic voice.
“Thre’s a huge increase in the opposition to this.
“It will devastate the tourism industry and blight the countryside while the Government blindly goes ahead in the wrong direction.”
Tina Rothery, from RAFF, added: “We are aware they are looking to bypass our democratic rights by bringing in new laws to facilitate industries like fracking in order to further corporation gain against private loss.”
Ken Cronin of UKOOG: “The onshore oil and gas industry, along with environmental groups and other interested parties, has been involved in discussions with Government over anomalies in the law of trespass.
“We welcome any moves by Government to put the onshore oil and gas industry on the same footing as other businesses, such as the coal, water and pipeline industries, as regards activities taking place many thousands of feet under people’s land.”
A spokesman for Cuadrilla added: “We will not be proceeding except where access has been obtained through lawful means beneath property.
“We will be approaching relevant landowners at an appropriate time and hope that they will be supportive of our plans.”