an anti-fracking protesters camp in Balcome, West Sussex (Reuters)
An anti-fracking protesters camp in Balcombe, West Sussex     Reuters

Cuadrilla, the fracking company, could be supplying fuel from shale gas to British homes by late-2015, according to CEO Francis Egan.

The company will submit planning applications to frack two Lancashire sites by the end of May. If the applications are successful, there would follow an initial flow test period of up to 90 days.

\"If the flow rates look good then we would want to tie the well into the gas transmission system and flow it for a longer period to assess the flow rate over 18 to 24 months,\" Egan told the Telegraph.

It would mark the first time Cuadrilla has fracked in the UK since 2011, after it was forced to cancel operations blamed for minor earthquakes.

Egan was dismissive of homeowners who would take issue with Cuadrilla fracking the ground beneath their property, saying: \"If someone flies two miles above your house do you get compensation?\"

It is expected that homeowners will be seeking compensation for any form of trespassing under land. Cuadrilla\'s intention is to drill vertically down from its fracking pads, after which it would drill horizontally west for anything up to 2km. Under current regulations, Cuadrilla would have to consult homeowners whose houses fall within that space.

It has been suggested that the government will push through legislation allowing for automatic right to drill. Currently, the owner of a plot of line owns everything directly above it and below it. New legislation would allow fracking companies to bypass these rules.

Such a course of action would undoubtedly face strong opposition from anti-fracking protesters. Today, members of protest group (Hey) Frack Off sent up camp at Crawberry Hill in Walkington, near Hull, over fears that the site will be fracked by Rathlin Energy.

Rathlin has denied the claim, saying that it was testing for oil and had no plans to frack. The presence of protesters, however, shows just how divisive the nascent practice has become.