Shale gas company Cuadrilla Resources has delayed work at a site in the UK in order to carry out an environmental assessment.

The exploration work was due to begin this year near Blackpool, where the company is already undertaking drilling at other sites, but Cuadrilla has announced it will not begin until 2014.

The company said this week that it would now complete a full environmental impact assessment at every site where it wants to drill, and acknowledged that “within the complex UK regulatory framework governing planning, this process can prove lengthy”.

“We are determined to spare no effort in meeting our exploration targets in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner,” it added in a statement.

Cuadrilla was forced to stop exploratory work in northwest England in 2011 after its drilling caused minor earth tremors.

The news of the delay to work at the Blackpool site comes after former BP boss Lord Browne – chairman of Cuadrilla – said this week that Britain’s “future lies” in shale gas.

Lord Browne also vowed to invest “whatever it takes” to kick-start production (click here for full story).