CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed today's announcement of the UK government dropping their support for fracking and placing a moratorium on the hydraulic extraction technique.

The indefinite suspension comes after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said it may be temporary - imposed "until and unless" extraction is proved safe.

Fracking was suspended at the end of August after activity by Cuadrilla Resources - the only company licensed to carry out the process - at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire caused a magnitude 2.9 earthquake.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that, after the OGA concluded that further seismic activity could not be ruled out and that further consents for fracking would not be granted unless the industry "can reliably predict and control tremors" linked to the process.

Third Energy was planning to carry out fracking at its site in at Kirby Misperton in 2017 but, following large protests and calls for a financial resilience review by the Government, eventually withdrew the bulk of its fracking equipment.

Since then the site has lain effectively dormant, though the planning consent to frack is valid until 2026.

Last month an indefinite moratorium on fracking in Ryedale was supported by district councillors

Ryedale resident Steve Mason from Frack Free United said: “This a very welcome announcement from the government. We will certainly be raising a glass to anti-fracking campaigners everywhere.

“It is a really big step in the right direction and we will be watching with interest the next actions of all political parties. They must commit to the necessary action to dismantle all the legislation backing fracking, and take the UK down a clean energy route.

“We also look forward to seeing the money that would have been spent on pushing fracking onto communities being used to support green energy, the police and the NHS.

“We will, however, remain vigilant and we believe all forms of extreme fossil fuel extraction should be included in this de facto ban. Our call has always been for an immediate halt to fracking AND associated methods of unconventional oil and gas extraction in the UK, such as coal bed methane and acidisation.

“For us, it is clear that developing any forms of extreme extraction will result in unacceptable negative impacts on local communities, local democracy, energy security, jobs, the climate, health and the environment.

“All the political parties now have the opportunity in their manifestos to include the urgent need to develop an energy policy that will provide a clean vision for Britain, building on this great news from the government.”