Cuadrilla, which used the controversial technique near Blackpool, suspended its activities last year after causing two minor earthquakes.

Despite independent reports recommending resuming fracking – which sees liquids pumped into rocks to force gas out – ministers have yet to give the go-ahead.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, told the Daily Telegraph: “We will make an announcement around the time of the gas strategy.”

The gas strategy – setting out the Government’s plans to encourage construction of gas-fired power plants – is expected in early November, alongside the Energy Bill, which is intended to bring forward investment in new low-carbon power plants.

Mr Davey has said that he hopes to give the green light to shale gas extraction but has warned it will be no “silver bullet to bring Britain to a new age of cheap energy”.

On Monday, he said: “Shale gas in North America has misled people about the medium to long-term trends in gas prices. People feel that if you go for unconventional gas in the UK that will reduce prices.”

He warned that long-term gas prices were expected to be “staying high or going up” as global energy demand soars.

Mr Davey’s caution about shale gas’s potential to lower UK energy prices contrasts with the views of Chancellor George Osborne, who last week said the Government was considering new tax breaks for shale gas “so that Britain is not left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic”.