Frack­ing to restart as ac­tivists fail to de­lay it

Daily Mail - - PETER OBORNE - By Josh White

FRACK­ING for shale gas in Bri­tain could restart to­day for the first time since the con­tro­ver­sial process caused earth­quakes in 2011.

The de­vel­op­ment comes af­ter an en­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paigner failed in his High Court bid to tem­po­rar­ily block en­ergy firm Cuadrilla from frack­ing at its site at Pre­ston New Road in Lan­cashire.

At a hear­ing in Lon­don yes­ter­day, Mr Jus­tice Sup­per­stone dis­missed Bob Den­nett’s ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­terim in­junc­tion pre­vent­ing Cuadrilla from frack­ing the UK’s first hor­i­zon­tal shale gas well pend­ing a full le­gal chal­lenge.

Frack­ing – or hy­draulic frac­tur­ing – in­volves in­ject­ing liq­uid at high pres­sure into sub­ter­ranean rocks to force open ex­ist­ing fis­sures and ex­tract oil or gas. Crit­ics claim the process is un­safe and en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing.

Frack­ing in the UK was stopped in 2011 af­ter small earth­quakes hit the Fylde coast in Lan­cashire. Mr Den­nett claims Lan­cashire County Coun­cil’s emer­gency re­sponse plan­ning and pro­ce­dures for a fresh at­tempt are in­ad­e­quate.

How­ever, dis­miss­ing Mr Den­nett’s ap­pli­ca­tion, the judge said: ‘I do not con­sider that any of the grounds of chal­lenge raise a se­ri­ous is­sue to be tried.’

On Thurs­day, Cuadrilla’s bar­ris­ter Nathalie Lieven QC told the judge that the firm could be­gin frack­ing to­day, adding: ‘Ev­ery day, it costs Cuadrilla £94,000 to keep all that equip­ment on site.’

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