The company which wants to frack for gas on the Fylde has written to residents near its two proposed sites to tell them it is to start groundwater monitoring.
But campaigners have said it should wait until after the official decision on the planning application appeal.
Cuadrilla has notified Lancashire County Council of its intent to drill four boreholes to monitor water at its exploration site at Preston New Road. It will also be submitting a similar notification for four shallow groundwater monitoring boreholes at Roseacre Wood.
Chief executive Francis Egan said: “While we wait for the outcome of our appeals for planning permission for both exploration sites, we want to ensure that if we do get the go-ahead we are fully prepared to meet our obligations on baseline monitoring of the ground water. This will allow us to reassure and demonstrate to the local community and our regulators that the groundwater will not be adversely impacted.”
However campaigner Pat Davies said: “Preston New Road Action Group is surprised to learn Cuadrilla intend to drill the water boreholes in advance of any decision by the Secretary of State about their appeal.
“The monitoring planning application for Cuadrilla at Preston New Road site was rejected by Lancashire County Council.”