As fracking, and the controversy which surrounds it, moves a step closer to the region, many people admit that they are still unsure what it means.
So what exactly is fracking and why does it generate such strong feelings both for and against?
Richard Wilson has been looking at the science behind the controversial mining technique.
More top news
Production has started on Nissan Sunderland's new extra-large press. The £37 million project can create 2.5 million car panels a year.
The annual event, which has attracted upwards of 50,000 people, is back in Centre Square on July 15 and 16.
Sunderland are just three points behind sixteenth placed Middlesbrough despite a 4-0 home defeat to Southampton in their last league outing.