A shale gas firm will submit a planning application after identifying a new fracking site in South Yorkshire
INEOS Shale has identified a potential new exploration drilling site near to the village of Harthill and has submitted an environmental screening report to Rotherham Council.
The site identified is land adjacent to Common Road, located less than half a mile east of the village.
A formal planning application to drill in the area is expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
Harthill Parish Council refused a request by Ineos last October to carry out seismic testing on a public open space in the village.
Its vice chair, Coun Joy Pattison, said: “To go from seismic testing to a planning application for a test drilling rig is a very big leap.”
Some villagers had said were planning to form a 'Harthill against fracking' group, she added.
INEOS has already come under huge pressure from residents in Marsh Lane near Eckington after it unveiled plans to drill near the village.
Hundreds of people packed into public meetings to protest against the plans.
The process is highly controversial as critics say potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The industry suggests pollution incidents are the results of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.
There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors.
A company spokesman said: "INEOS is seeking to establish a Community Liaison Group with elected members and local residents and looks forward to working alongside the local community to ensure that the important issues have been discussed, considered and are understood prior to the planning application being submitted.
"As part of the screening process, a period of consultation will take place with statutory bodies."