The Green Party in England and Wales has used its autumn conference in Sheffield this weekend to call for an immediate moratorium on fracking.
'Fracking' is the controversial process of extracting shale gas, or coal bed methane, from underground by hydraulic fracture of the strata containing the gas.
Water, sand and a cocktail of chemicals are injected at high pressure to create cracks in the rocks underground to allow the gas to excape.
In the US, explosions, spills, and toxic pollution of air and water have been reported to the authorities, and there have been calls to outlaw the practice made around the world.
The Campaign Against Climate Change pressure group have planned "Camp Frack," a protest camp to be held this coming weekend near the shale gas exploration site at Hesketh Bank, West Lancashire, where drilling started recently.
Caroline Lucas MP and Labour MP Michael Meacher have initiated an Early Day Motion in Parliament to halt all fracking until a full and detailed scientific analysis of its impacts can be carried out.
Launching the Green Party's national campaign against fracking, Philip Mitchell, Chair of the Blackpool and Fylde Green Party, said: "There are already licensed sites in many parts of the country. Collieries in Derbyshire and West Yorkshire are possible sites for commercial coal bed methane production, which may require fracking. However, large investment may be required."
He continued: "Apart from colleries, one proposed site, in Kirkham in Lancashire, is in a populated area, and the planning application is identified as being on the land of HM Open Prison Kirkham.
"The first true European shale gas fracking operation at Weeton, outside Blackpool, has been suspected of causing two earth tremors. These left local residents feeling anxious and angry, but perhaps even worse are the accounts I have witnessed from some residents of long and terrible episodes of breathlessness coinciding with the fracking.
"Occurrences such as these have been linked to fracking in the US as well.
"Information obtained from the Environment Agency suggests that much more caution needs to be taken, with chemicals used in the fracking fluid being harmful to skin, eyes and aquatic life.
"It's time for an immediate halt and a complete re-think of the government's approach to these energy resources," said Mr Mitchell.
* For information on Camp Frack see: http://www.campaigncc.org.uk