More than two dozen new areas in northern England and the Midlands could face fracking after new licences were awarded for oil and gas exploration.
Some 27 areas, including sites near Preston, have been awarded to companies to explore for oil and gas as the Government seeks to push forward with a shale industry in the UK.
A further 132 areas, including parts of the North West, are set to be awarded licences subject to further environmental assessment and conditions to protect wildlife and habitats.
Energy Minister Lord Bourne said:
But Greenpeace said the announcement had fired the starting gun for the "fight for the future of our countryside".
Spokeswoman Daisy Sands said:
Andrew Pendleton, Friends Of The Earth Head of Campaigns, said: