Strict rules on fracking to stop earthquakes could be relaxed
  • Strict regulations to stop earthquakes triggered by fracking could be relaxed
  • Minor tremors last year in Lancashire brought Cuadrilla’s fracking site to a halt
  • After it resumed yesterday the government said tremor data is being reviewed 

By Colin Fernadez For The Daily Mail

Published: 20:26 EDT, 15 August 2019 | Updated: 20:27 EDT, 15 August 2019

Strict regulations to stop earthquakes being triggered by fracking mining could be relaxed in a Government review.

The controversial technique to release shale gas – shooting high-pressure jets of water and chemicals deep underground to crack rocks – can generate tremors. 

A number of minor quakes in December at gas company Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire, the UK’s only fracking mine, brought operations to a halt, which prompted calls for larger tremors to be allowed.

As mining resumed yesterday the Government said the tremor data is now being reviewed.

Strict regulations on fracking, aimed at stopping it causing earthquakes, could be relaxed following a Government review. (Pictured) Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, Lancashire

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has urged the government not to loosen regulations – as this would ‘undermine public confidence’.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Head of Rural Economy and Communities, at CPRE, warned the government not to allow any relaxation of the rules that suspend fracking if tremors above a specified level are detected.

Mr Carey-Dawes sad: ‘Our recent public survey results show that the majority of people feel that their views are being completely ignored by the government over the issue of fracking. 

‘The public also made it abundantly clear that they do not want earthquake regulations to be weakened, making this shift in position from the government – which could open the door to more and stronger earthquakes caused by fracking – a deeply concerning development.’

A spokesman for the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy department said: ‘Shale gas could be an important new domestic energy source reducing the level of gas imports while delivering broad economic benefits, including through the creation of well-paid, quality jobs. It could also support our transition to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has urged the government not to loosen regulations – as this would ‘undermine public confidence’. (Pictured) Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire

‘We have world-leading regulations that ensure shale gas exploration happens in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

‘The Oil and Gas Authority is currently undertaking a scientific assessment of recent industry data which we will consider once completed.’

Laura Hughes, projects and operations director at Cuadrilla, said Preston New Road was one of the most monitored oil and gas sites anywhere in the world and the company had proved ‘it is a well-run, entirely safe and environmentally responsible operation”.’


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