Friends of the Earth and local residents today vowed to continue fighting fracking as Minister Claire Perry today granted consent for the controversial process in Lancashire.
The go-ahead was given while a legal challenge about regulation at the site brought by Friends of the Earth is still being considered by the High Court.
The Government's move marked the end of a long battle which escalated when the Government intervened after Lancashire County Council threw out Cuadrilla’s plans.
It allowed the Preston New Road site to go ahead, with a second site in Elswick under consideration.
Liz Hutchins, Friends of the Earth director of campaigns, said: “It’s taken the industry seven long years to just get to this point.
“In those same seven years, renewable energy has gone from providing a tenth of our electricity to supplying a third of it. There is no need to force fracking on this community in Lancashire when the alternatives are so clear.
“The government backed the wrong horse. Renewables have cleared the finishing line and have taken the cup while fracking is limping along on the first stretch.
“They have also had to really push the boundaries of planning law by trying to change regulations to go all out for fracking, and they’ve put everything into resuscitating this nearly dead-on-its-feet industry.”
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: "Shale gas has the potential to be a new domestic energy source, further enhancing our energy security and helping us with our continued transition to a lower-carbon economy.
"It also has the capacity to deliver substantial economic benefits, both nationally and locally, as well as through the creation of well paid, high-quality jobs.
"We already have an excellent, long-standing reputation for safe oil and gas exploration. Our world class regulations will ensure that shale exploration will maintain robust environmental standards and meet the expectations of local communities.
"I have carefully considered Cuadrilla’s application and I am content that Hydraulic Fracturing Consent should be granted in this instance."
Caroline Lucas from the Green Party said in a tweet: "Disgraceful that the Govt has quietly signed off fracking on a busy last day before recess.
"They've ignored local people, overruled local councillors and torn up our commitments to tackle climate change."