Fylde council calls for halt to fracking over 'safety fears'

The fracking equipment that was at the Little Plumpton site
The fracking equipment that was at the Little Plumpton site

Cuadrilla is unable to guarantee public safety around its fracking operation, Fylde council has said.

The local authority is calling for a ban on fracking following concerns after the spate of tremors that occurred when Cuadrilla carried out fracking tests on the second of its two drilled gas wells at its Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton.

The operation resulted in more than a hundred minor tremors, some felt in the homes of nearby residents above the 0.5 ML magnitude limit where fracking has to be paused for 18 hours to do checks. Fracking was suspended following a 2.9 ML earth tremor in August as the Oil and Gas Authority carries out a review, the results of which are yet to be released.

Since then the firm has been testing the flow of gas from the well, but no fracking is due to take place before its planning permission to frack runs out on November 30.

But now at a meeting of Fylde Council a motion was passed calling on the OGA to call a halt to fracking.

The motion said: "Following recent and past seismic activity at Cuadrilla Resources’ site on Preston New Road, this council calls upon the Government to ensure safety of Fylde coast residents by continuing to uphold the stringent regulations currently in place on the shale gas industry.

"The industry has not been able to clearly demonstrate it can operate within these parameters and guarantee public safety, therefore this Council also calls upon the Oil and Gas Authority to ensure all hydraulic fracturing operations in the Fylde cease with immediate effect."

Cuadrilla declined to comment on Fylde's resolution, but referred to previous statements.

Chief executive Francis Egan, said: "I would like to reassure people that our exploration site in Preston New Road is an exceptionally highly regulated, well-run and entirely safe operation.

"I firmly believe a domestic natural gas supply established right here in Lancashire with much lower emissions than imported gas and the potential to deliver incredible economic benefits for local people is worth exploring."

After the tremors in August, Cuadrilla sent people round to homes where people had complained of damage to property.

Anti-fracking protesters have welcomed Fylde's move. A spokesman said: "Frack Free Lancashire is pleased to see that Fylde Borough Council have finally accepted the danger that residents face from fracking.

“Time and time again, Cuadrilla have failed to demonstrate they can operate safely at Preston New Road. The utter contempt that this company holds for residents is blatant.

“We also urge the Oil and Gas Authority to put a permanent halt to fracking in Lancashire and beyond. We don’t need another fossil fuel exploited. We’re in a climate crisis and pursuing a dirty industry for more climate-damaging gas is an unsustainable and unsupportable option.”