A decision over plans to drill for methane in north Shropshire has been postponed by the local authority.
Dart Energy has applied for permission to dig a test borehole to check for coal bed methane on farmland in Dudleston, near Ellesmere.
About 100 people protested outside a Shropshire Council planning meeting on Friday afternoon.
Councillors said they opposed the bid, but following legal advice, agreed to postpone a decision until November.
They unanimously said they “were minded to reject the application” but officers and a legal advisor stepped in.
Officers are now expected to carry out further research before the next planning meeting.
Coal bed methane involves drilling down to a coal seam and then removing water to stimulate the flow of methane, which can then be used to produce energy.
Dart Energy was first granted planning permission to create a test borehole at the site in 2010, but it expired last year.
Their current plans include drilling a 830m deep (2,720ft) borehole at the site. If approved, it would remain for two months, after which it would be sealed.