Consultation on fracking waste

Energy Secretary Ed Davey
Energy Secretary Ed Davey
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The Environment Agency is holding a public consultation into an application by a subsidiary of Cuadrilla Resources to manage waste water related to fracking.

Bowland Resources has applied for permits to manage flowback water from hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, at three of its exploration sites - Becconsall at Hesketh Bank, near Southport, Westby, near Kirkham, and Singleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde.

Cuadrilla also has a fourth site on the Fylde at Weeton.

Fracking involves a process of using large quantities of high-pressure liquid to split deep-lying shale rock and extract gas.

The permits also cover drill cuttings, waste gas and any naturally-occurring radioactive substances in waste water.

The Environment Agency said: “We are proposing that strict conditions are set out in the permits to ensure local communities and the environment are protected.”

People can comment on the proposals by emailing or writing to EP team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield, S9 4WF.

The consultation, the second if its kind, runs until February 13.

The Environment Agency said responses would then be fed into its on-going assessment, before a final decision to grant or deny the permits was made.

Cuadrilla’s fracking activities were stopped in May 2011 following two earth tremors near Blackpool, which were blamed on the process. But last year the Government gave the company the green light to go ahead with more testing.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey allowed the testing to resume, saying that it could be managed safely with a monitoring system of regulation observed by the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council.

Critics say fracking can pollute water supplies, but its supporters believe it will be a source of cheap, domestic energy and Cuadrilla says it could supply a quarter of the UK’s gas needs from untapped resources in Lancashire.