Tremors cause frack­ing flut­ter

Rossendale Free Press - - Time-Trip - Stu­art.pike@men­ @stu­art­pike78

CUADRILLA chiefs ac­cused politi­cians of ‘an over-re­ac­tion’ af­ter calls for a sus­pen­sion of frack­ing fol­low­ing a series of ‘earthquakes’ linked to the Pre­ston New Road site.

Lan­cashire county coun­cil’s Labour group and union bosses called for drilling to halt af­ter a series of seis­mic events since frack­ing be­gan near Black­pool last month.

Coun John Fil­lis, Labour deputy leader, said there was clearly a link be­tween frack­ing and the ‘ earthquakes’.

He said: “It was claimed that these prob­lems had been over­come and it was now safe. It would ap­pear that such claims by Cuadrilla are nei­ther sound nor re­li­able.

“The gov­ern­ment has a duty to pro­tect lo­cal peo­ple and sus­pend frack­ing not only on this site but across the county.”

The Unite union echoed the calls fol­low­ing re­ports of dozens of tremors at the Cuadrilla site since frack­ing restarted there a fort­night ago.

As­sis­tant gen­eral sec­re­tary Gail Cart­mail said: “The con­tin­ued tremors be­ing caused by frack­ing in Lan­cashire must be ter­ri­fy­ing for peo­ple liv­ing lo­cally. The fact that there are con­tin­ual tremors un­der­lines that frack­ing is not safe and it needs to be halted im­me­di­ately.”

But Cuadrilla dis­missed the tremors as ‘mi­cro seis­mic’ events.

Matt Lam­bert, direc­tor of gov­ern­ment and pub­lic af­fairs, said: “The lev­els of seis­mic­ity de­tected at Pre­ston New Road can­not be felt at sur­face, still less cause any harm or dam­age. They are far be­low nat­u­ral and in­duced seis­mic­ity fre­quently ex­pe­ri­enced all around the coun­try and well be­low the equiv­a­lent ex­pe­ri­ence from con­struc­tion, quar­ry­ing and sim­i­lar in­dus­tries. The aim was to pro- vide a start­ing point which would re­as­sure the com­mu­nity of our com­mit­ment to be­ing trans­par­ent and cau­tious, to al­le­vi­ate any fears.

“What we are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, how­ever, is the re­verse ef­fect, where the mea­sure­ment of tiny, mi­cro seis­mic events which is in­tended to re­as­sure, is be­ing treated as ma­jor news, height­en­ing pub­lic con­cern.”

The North & Western Lan­cashire Cham­ber of Com­merce wel­comed the first pro­duc­tion of shale gas from the site this week.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Babs Mur­phy said: “Shale gas rep­re­sents a huge eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity for Lan­cashire firms not only in terms of win­ning new busi­ness but also cre­at­ing new jobs and gen­er­at­ing new mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

●● Coun John Fil­lis

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