Categorized | Fossil Fuels

Cuadrilla confirms Blackpool fracking plans

Shale oil & gas developer Cuadrilla yesterday confirmed it intends to submit planning applications by the end of this month to carry out fracking operations at two sites near Blackpool.

A planning application to Lancashire County Council to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at its site at Preston New Road will be made before the end of this month.

A separate planning application for a second proposed exploration site, at Roseacre Wood, will also be submitted to the Council a few weeks after the Preston New Road application, according to a Cuadrilla statement yesterday.

“This application could be a really important milestone for Lancashire and the UK as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s shale gas potential,” said Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan.

“The development of the shale gas industry has the potential to bring significant investment, community benefits and opportunities for local people and the North West and UK economies.”

Exploration of the Preston New Road and Roseacre wood sites was first suggested by Cuadrilla in February, having decided to press ahead with the development of just these two sites on Lancashire’s Fylde coast rather than the six announced in summer 2013.

Previous Cuadrilla operations in the Fylde coast area have been linked with causing seismic events, with fracking at its Preese Hall blamed for two minor earthquakes in Blackpool in 2011. These led the government to suspend all shale oil & gas development in the UK until December 2012.

As part of the the planning application for Preston New Road, Cuadrilla announced yesterday that plans will also be submitted to install a network of seismic monitoring stations within a 4km radius of the proposed exploration site.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth (FOE) accused the government and Cuadrilla of colluding to promote fracking ahead of the two planning applications, and warned that the operations would damage the Fylde coast environment.

“The public is rightly concerned that fracking causes more problems than it solves – there are risks for our water supply, our health and the beautiful Fylde environment, and it won’t lower energy bills or create anywhere near as many jobs as renewables,” said FOE North West campaigner Helen Rimmer.

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