Campaign groups have lined up in opposition to fracking as the bidding process for licences gets underway, with claims that the process is bad for the environment and unsafe to the public.
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth say plans to protect National Parks will not quieten protesters, adding that communities should be offered the same safeguards.
Today the risk of fracking has spread. This threat to the environment and public health could now affect millions more people.
Ministers waited until the parliamentary recess to make their move, no doubt aware of the political headache this will cause to MPs whose constituencies will be affected.
More top news
Team Sky's Chris Froome is set to win the 2016 Tour de France with an overall lead of four minutes 11 seconds after stage 20 to Morzine
The attempted kidnap of an RAF serviceman took place near RAF Marham, in Norfolk, on Wednesday.
Footballer Marc Crosas faces an investigation after pictures emerged of him appearing to have speared an endangered baby shark