Sites targeted in frack push

Ed Davey
Ed Davey
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Two sites in Lancashire will be ‘fracked’ after the Government gav the green light for shale gas drilling to start again.

Cuadrilla Resources, the company behind controversial hydraulic fracturing in the county, has confirmed it wants to carry out the process at sites at Banks, between Preston and Southport, and Westby, near Lytham St Annes.

It confirmed it will press ahead with a bid for approval from regulators after the Government gave the green light for work to resume on Thursday.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said he will strengthen “the stringent regime” around the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

Leon Jennings, health and safety environment director at Cuadrilla, confirmed it would be looking to “fracture and test” on the sites.

He said: “To progress with these sites will require planning permits and environmental permissions from the Environment Agency and the county council.

“These are going through the process of consultation at the moment and only when they have been approved can we begin.

“The timescale we are working to will be dependent on how soon any approval is given.”

He said the data gathered from the site would allow assessment of the level of shale gas locked under the sites which would then inform its decision whether to press ahead commercial extraction the gas. Mr Jennings said any decision to ‘frack’ it’s other two wells in Singleton and Weeton would be determined by what it finds at Banks and Westby.

Yesterday, county councillors voted unanimously to urge Mr Davey to introduce industry specific regulations which would be maintained locally.

Putting forward the motion, County Coun Bill Winlow said: “The regulatory functions need to be supported and Lancashire County Council should be pressing for that. It is time for the council to put whatever pressure it can to ensure there is an industry specific regulator.

“Something better needs to be done for the sake of people in Lancashire.”

County Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “The planning decisions should be made locally by elected members accountable to the people of Lancashire.”