AN ENERGY firm will today ask for permission to use the controversial fracking mining method at a site in North Yorkshire.
Third Energy wants to use the technique at a site at Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering, to see if gas can be extracted in quantities that would make full-time production commercially worthwhile.
If given the go-ahead, the company expects the testing process to last around eight weeks.
Similar test-fracking operations in West Sussex and Greater Manchester have attracted protestors from across the country.
Fracking sees water, sand and chemicals forced into rock formations deep underground at high pressure to free trapped gas deposits that cannot be accessed through conventional means.
The technique has been used extensively in the United States which has seen energy prices fall dramatically as a result and the Government has given enthusiastic backing to developing a UK industry.
But opponents argue fracking poses environmental risks and is a wasteful use of water.
North Yorkshire County Council will need to grant planning permission and the Environment Agency will have to issue a number of permits before the test can go ahead.
If the results of the tests are positive, Third Energy, which already operates the conventional gas operation which fuels Knapton Generating Station, would have to go through a further application process before full production could go-ahead.
Communities where fracking takes place have been promised a share of the proceeds.