The government has announced fracking for shale gas can resume in the UK, with new controls to address the risk of seismic activity.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey was speaking during energy and climate change questions on 13 December 2012.
Mr Davey said shale gas represented a promising new potential energy resource for the UK, although it was not yet known what contribution it could make to the energy mix, jobs and the economy.
He insisted that exploiting shale gas in this country would not undermine efforts to cut emissions to tackle climate change.
Mr Davey told MPs: "Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low-carbon economy.
"It is essential that its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment. Fracking must be safe and the public must be confident that it is safe."
He added that the government was "strengthening the stringent regime already in place" with new controls around seismic risks.
Tessa Munt, Liberal Democrat MP for Wells, called for investment in renewable energy.
She said: "The fracking debate is fundamental to the direction of UK energy policy.
"Do we, as a country, want to scramble around trying to drag every last remnant of polluting fossil fuels from our earth before we understand fully the impact of this highly controversial technique?
"Or do we want to be serious about reducing our energy demand, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, vehicles and equipment and embracing renewable energy, with its absolute energy security, declining costs, many new jobs and real growth?"