Fracking stopped by 'red event' off Preston New Road after seven earthquakes in two hours
Fracking has been halted in Lancashire following a series of seven small earthquakes in less than two hours.
The earthquakes all took place close to the Preston New Road site, where oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla commenced fracking in October.
Work has paused and the site will be monitored by Cuadrilla for at least 18 hours in line with rules set out by the Oil and Gas Authority.
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: "A series of micro seismic events in Blackpool have been recorded on the British Geological Survey website today. The largest recorded was 0.9ML at about 2pm. This occurred while we were hydraulically fracturing at the Preston New Road exploration site.
"Detected by Cuadrilla's sophisticated monitoring system, and verified by BGS, it will be classed as a 'red' event under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority.
"Cuadrilla has paused and will continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least 18 hours after the event was recorded, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified."
The first quake took place at 1.05pm with a magnitude of -0.6.
Two earthquakes, with magnitudes of -0.2 and -0.5, took place at 1.06pm. Three minutes later, at 1.09pm, a quake with a magnitude of 0.1 took place.
At 1.18pm a tremor with a magnitude of -0.1 occurred.
This was followed at 1.41pm by a tremor with a magnitude of 0.9 - the biggest of the day.
The last tremor, with a magnitude of 0.1, took place at 2.51pm.