Appeal for fracking to be put on hold

Cuadrilla Resources near Preston, Lancashire
Cuadrilla Resources near Preston, Lancashire
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A Lancashire councillor’s proposal for a moratorium on fracking has been welcomed by campaigners.

Coun Liz Oades, who represents Kirkham South on Fylde Council, will put forward the notice of motion for a delay at a council meeting on Monday.

The motion proposes that: “Fylde Borough Council requests the Government to put a moratorium in place in relation to fracking operations until such time that all regulatory, health and community impacts are resolved.”

Cuadrilla, the energy company which wants to drill test wells with a view to carrying out fracking at two sites within the authority’s boundaries, Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, claims it has already “comprehensively” dealt with Coun Oades’ concerns.

But Barry Warner, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, welcomed the motion. He said: “There are some very serious, very important questions on the health front, and it seems absolutely crazy that we might go ahead until we’ve bottomed those out. It’s a no brainer.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “The Government has already effectively carried out an 18 month moratorium during which the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, arguably the most respected scientific bodies in the world, were commissioned to conduct a report on the potential impact of shale gas operations and concluded that the health, safety and environmental risks can be managed effectively in the UK in the presence of operational best practice underpinned by strong regulation.

“In support of our proposals for temporary exploration operations, Cuadrilla’s environmental statements for Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood detail the findings of an extensive environmental impact assessment of the proposed sites, which was carried out by experts at Arup.

“The end result is probably the two most comprehensive Environmental Statements ever completed for proposed shale gas exploration sites.”

It comes after an application by another shale company, Celtique Energy, to explore for oil and gas in West Sussex was rejected yesterday.

Campaigners feared the exploration would lead to fracking. The local council rejected the plan amid concerns about highways and the site choice.