THE company hoping to unlock shale gas trapped beneath the Fylde coast has applied for a permit to dispose of the toxic water the controversial process will produce.
Cuadrilla Resources wants to pump water and chemicals underground at high speed to release the gas – the technique known widely as ‘fracking’.
But it needs the Environment Agency to give it permission to safely dispose of the contaminated “returned water” at the end of the process.
And now, despite the company not having permission to frack until the Department of Energy and Climate Change give it the green-light, Cuadrilla has submitted its permit application to the Environment Agency.
The move means residents will have the chance to officially submit their views on Cuadrilla’s plans, which cover its Westby and Singleton sites.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said: “With permits granted by the Environment Agency in place, we will have demonstrably sound and visibly regulated arrangements for the safe storage, removal and processing of our returned waters.
“As well as routinely monitoring our own performance, adherence to our permit conditions will be separately and independently inspected by the Environment Agency at regular intervals.”
Cuadrilla’s application sets out the measures the firm will take to dispose of the water safely, including regularly sampling the waste water to monitor its composition and only transporting the water in special vehicles.
The firm fracked at its Preese Hall site, in Weeton last year, and recently disposed of the water with the Environment Agency’s permission as part of a testing period ahead of its permit application.
The Environment Agency has now begun a consultation period, which will run until October 26 for both sites.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “These applications do not cover the actual fracturing process and as such we cannot take on board general objections to hydraulic fracturing and shale gas explorations in this consultation but we will consider all information that is relevant to this assessment.”