LONDON -- The British government came out in favor of a controversial shale gas extraction method known as fracking, saying on Thursday that work should be resumed even though it is suspected of having triggered earthquakes.

Exploratory fracking can restart under tight controls to "mitigate the risks of seismic activity," Energy Secretary Edward Davey said.

The British energy firm Cuadrilla Resources had been forced to halt drilling trials in Lancashire in northwest England after the technique was thought to have caused a 2.3-magnitude tremor in April 2011 and a 1.5-magnitude tremor in May.

But Davey said on Thursday that his decision to allow the firm to resume test drilling was "based on the evidence."

"It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field," he said.

"We are strengthening the stringent regime already in place with new controls around seismic risks.

"And as the industry develops we will remain vigilant to all emerging evidence to ensure fracking is safe and the local environment is protected."