'A momentous achievement for Lancashire'
Reacting to the news, Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the trade association for onshore operators and the wider supply chain, said: 'This is a momentous achievement and UK Onshore Oil and Gas wish to congratulate Cuadrilla, its suppliers and staff for their success.
"At a time when the UK, and indeed the whole of Europe, is becoming ever more dependent on imported fuels it is very encouraging that we are taking steps to reverse the trend.
"By doing this we will bring back home the job opportunities, investment and tax revenues lost by outsourcing our energy needs while securing our energy future and signalling that the UK is beholden to no one now or into the future.
"I am also pleased to see that the two wells at Preston New Road have helped drive over Â£10 million into the Lancashire economy and create over 60 jobs, whilst communities are directly benefitting through Lancashire based funds and payments. This is just a flavour of what a fully-fledged UK onshore gas industry can provide.
"With 84 per cent of us heating our homes with gas, industry using it as a vital feedstock and gas meeting nearly half of our electricity demand, the question is not whether we use gas, it’s where we source it from, and the answer should be at home.
"With this in mind, Lancashire can today be proud that it is at the forefront of Britain’s indigenous energy revival.”
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is good news for the County.
"Cuadrilla is now leading the way on UK shale gas exploration with hundreds of local businesses set to benefit from supplying products and services to this nascent industry.
"Already over 10 million pounds has been spent locally and we see that spend significantly increasing in the future”.
Lee Petts, chairman at Lancashire For Shale, welcomed the news: "This is fabulous news for Lancashire, putting it squarely at the forefront of the UK's nascent shale gas industry.
"The opportunity for local suppliers to gain a significant first-mover advantage cannot be overstated.
"Already, operations at Preston New Road have seen millions of pounds spent with Lancashire businesses, and the scope for that to grow in the future is astonishing - there really is nothing with the quite same potential to change the game for Lancashire's economy.
"We are delighted that the Secretary of State has recognised this potential, and given Cuadrilla the final approval it needs to get on with demonstrating that Lancashire shale gas can be recovered in commercial quantities so that we can better assess the role it will one day play in meeting our energy needs as a nation."
Meanwhile, shale gas firm Cuadrilla has said it will take legal action against six anti-fracking campaigners who staged a lock-on protest in defiance of a court injunction.
They locked themselves together in pairs at the entrance of the firm’s shale gas drilling site off Preston New Road .
The campaigners were highlighting “an unfair” use of the law to prevent any meaningful, peaceful protest at the controversial site.
Cuadrilla won a judge’s backing earlier this month when a temporary injunction was extended preventing such blocking of the site entrance, plus trespass, obstruction of or climbing on top of vehicles, and blockading suppliers’ sites.