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UK government gives Cuadrilla green light to start fracking at Lancashire site

25 July 2018

Shale gas developer Cuadrilla has been given the green light by the UK government to start hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire. This is the first time the energy ministry has issued a fracking permit since the new shale gas regulatory regime was introduced.

Preston New Road site - Image: Cuadrilla
Preston New Road site - Image: Cuadrilla

Fracking is expected to begin in late August or early September at the site, which is between Blackpool and Preston.

UK energy minister Claire Perry said shale gas was an important potential new energy source, and she was satisfied Cuadrilla had met the government’s conditions for granting a hydraulic fracturing permit.

“Our world-class regulations will ensure that shale exploration will maintain robust environmental standards and meet the expectations of local communities,” she said.

The formal approval follows checks by government bodies including the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive, and marks a milestone for an industry that has been plagued by delays.

Cuadrilla said it was very pleased with the government’s decision, calling it a testament to “our strong track record of running a world-class shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, in compliance with robust health, safety, environmental and planning regulation.”

The Treasury deemed Cuadrilla to have adequate financial resilience to undertake the work.
An application to frack a second well at Preston New Road is expected to be submitted shortly, and fracking both wells is expected to take three to four months.

Opponents have vowed to fight the UK fracking industry, which critics have said risks air and water pollution, and could exacerbate climate change. The Preston New Road site has seen protests by anti-fracking campaigners for over 18 months.

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