Lancashire campaigners hit back at playing down of fracking tremors

Fylde coast anti-fracking campaigners have hit back at claims that tremors caused by the process were “largely imperceptible”.

By Tim Gavell
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 4:55 am

The process of trying to release natural gas from deep underground by injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals at high pressure to shatter shale rock has been revived by Tory MPs who claim it will help in the current energy crisis.

Fracking was halted under a moratorium in November 2019 after tremors were caused by the two wells at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton.

In a recent BBC interview, Francis Egan from drilling firm Cuadrilla, said that the tremors were “largely imperceptible” from its wells and that they were safe and viable.

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The fracking wells at Preston New Road were due to be filled in, until the Government gave Cuadrilla a year's reprieve this year amid the energy crisis. Now the British Geological Survey has been tasked with checking to see if the science has improved enough that tremors caused by fracking can be mitigated or predicted properly

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Chemicals firm Ineos has asked the government to allow it to drill a test fracking site to show gas can be harvested safely, and claimed fracking gas could could make the country "self-sufficient in 10 years".

This week PM Boris Johnson said that while he would prefer hydrocarbons to come from offshore wells, if fracking could be proved safe then the Government would reconsider.

But Fylde MP Mark Menzies has said that fracking cannot be done within the safety tolerances agreed and campaigners in Lancashire pointed to almost 200 complaints about a 2.9ML tremor from the Preese Hall well in 2011.

A Frack Free Lancashire member said: “The industry has attempted and failed to persuade people that this was a non-issue, but the science is what led to the moratorium and, according to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, until the industry is able to demonstrate that it can predict and control the seismicity then the moratorium remains in place.”

On the Ineos claim they said that it would take hundreds of wells in the county, gas recovery figures being claimed were unrealistic and that it would take at least two years for any new site to be drilled to the point where fracking gas could be extracted.