British High Court judges will announce whether they will back a judicial review into proposals to use test hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – in North Yorkshire.
Any review would likely be held this week, but if the application is not successful gas company Third Energy will be able to continue work on the site.
Third Energy successfully gained planning permission in May this year. However, approval by North Yorkshire County Council was greeted by fierce opposition to the development near the village of Kirby Misperton from environmental campaigners and local groups.
The application for judicial review was brought by environmental group Friends of the Earth and local group Frack Free Ryedale, after they claimed that planners did not take climate change and local communities into account when coming to their decision.
Fracking is controversial for a variety of reasons, including climate change and an alleged correlation between fracking and earthquakes. There are also hotly contested claims that the high-pressure fluid used to force gas from shale deep below ground can leak and poison groundwater, and in some cases reported in the US apparently causing tap water to be flammable.
However, Third Energy has repeatedly stressed that the development will be safe and will not affect local groundwater.
There are also broader concerns about climate change and the "keep it in the ground" movement, which aims to move the world away from fossil fuel-led growth towards more environmentally friendly renewable sources of energy.
Before the ruling Friends of the Earth’s Simon Bowens said: “North Yorkshire County Council failed in their legal duty to fully assess the impact this fracking application would have on the climate and in protecting their local communities against long term financial risks.”