Tremors cause fracking flutter
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