Fracking hit the headlines last year, when activity (involving pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract the gas) triggered two earthquakes near Blackpool.
Shale gas is an essential product for ensuring relatively cheap energy supplies, but many critics are concerned about side effects on the environment, such as the earthquakes and possible contaminations of ground water.
However, the panel’s report supports the technique, saying any future quakes should be too small to cause any real structural damage, but that careful monitoring is essential.
One of the report's authors, Prof Peter Styles from Keele University, said that the experts “said there was a very low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments of other wells. We agree that [last year's] events are attributable to the existence of an adjacent geological fault that had not been identified.
“There might be other comparable faults, (and) we believe it's not possible to categorically reject the possibility of further quakes."
Four precautions have been recommended by the panel: all injections of fracking fluid must include a preliminary injection, followed by monitoring; growth in shale fractures should be monitored; seismic events must be monitored in real time; and a warning traffic light system should be applied, with all work halting quakes of magnitude 0.5 or above are recorded.
Despite many environmentalists concerns, Simon Moore, environment and energy research fellow at thinktank Policy Exchange, thinks this could be a big opportunity: "It's something that can potentially help with meeting our climate change gas goals".
The report will now face a six week consultation period at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, before regulations are announced.