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Inquiry is set to say fracking made Blackpool rock

A major report into two small earthquakes last year near Blackpool is set to be published this week and is expected to show they were caused by "fracking", the controversial drilling method used to extract shale gale.

The independent scientific inquiry by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) comes following a report in November commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources, which concluded that it was "highly probable" the energy firm's operations caused the earth tremors.

At the time, one of the report's authors told The Independent that 50 separate seismic movements were the results of the drilling method, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to release gas.

Cuadrilla, which estimates there are 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the Bowland basin in Lancashire, is hoping the government will grant it the UK's first fracking licence. Last month, former BP chief executive Lord Browne claimed Lancashire could become the European capital of the shale gas industry and 50,000 jobs could be created across the UK as a result.