FRACKING sites were granted a stay of execution last night as ministers considered using them for further research rather than concrete them up forever.
Last night two sites in Lancashire were given extra time to close down after a backlash from MPs and campaigners amid soaring energy prices.
They were ordered to be concreted over within weeks, but now have until June to do so.
Insiders said the site could be used for further research on fracking rather than disappearing forever.
The Lancashire wells have not been used since 2019 after test drilling was suspended due to concerns about earthquakes.
But thanks to spiralling fuel costs forcing bills to soar and the West cutting off Russia’s supplies, the PM is under fresh pressure to look again at whether fracking could help drive up UK energy reserves.
Government insiders said the sites would not be shut up completely while the evidence is reviewed.
Ahead of a new energy strategy to be released next week, one Whitehall figure said: “talks are ongoing.”
However, last night No10 insisted “our position on fracking hasn’t changed”.
The PM’s spokesperson said it would take years to get shale gas out of the ground and there were still huge concerns about safety.
They added: “It would take years of exploration and development before any quantities of shale gas could be extracted and wouldn’t have an impact on prices affecting Europe in the near future.”