LANCASHIRE and the North West should benefit from national interest and pioneer the controversial process of shales gas fracking, according to peers.

But campaigners in East Lancashire are already gearing up for one of their first major demonstrations against the underground energy source.

Leaders of the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee have even called for a task force to be established to push forward investigations.

Two sites on the Fylde coast have been pinpointed by shale gas exploration companies and the Lancashire Telegraph revealed in December how a number of sites along the M65 corridor could be licensed for fracking.

Lord MacGregor said: “The committee strongly supports the Government’s decision to go ‘all out for shale’.

“But here in the UK we have not yet left the starting gate. Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.”

The peer has talked of redoubling efforts to win over the public in the North West after his committee conducted a six-month study into fracking – and insisted environmental concerns over water use, methane leaks and tremors are not serious.

Greenpeace has dismissed the Lords’ report as ‘cherry-picking’ evidence in support of shale gas fracking.

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said: “Fracking is a non-solution – it won’t deliver for many years, if ever.”

Frack Off Burnley, will be demonstrating at the bandstand in St James Street, Burnley, tomorrow, with speakers from the Socialist Workers Party, stalls and music acts, from 1pm to 4pm.

The newly-established East Lancashire Against Fracking also took part in the town’s May Day parade, handing out leaflets and manning a stall in Towneley Park.

A petition against fracking, addressed to all East Lancashire councils, is at www.