Gas company pulls out of fracking site

Anna's Road, Westby
Anna's Road, Westby
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Fracking company Cuadrilla is to close one of its three Fylde coast sites, after restrictions relating to wintering birds made the site unworkable.

The company, which owns rigs in Singleton and Weeton, revealed it has been forced to close its Anna’s Road site in Westby due to “technical constraints related to wintering birds.”

Speaking to The Gazette, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said the company took the decision to close Anna’s Road following talks with planning consultants Arup, after other locations in the area were found to be more suitable for fracking.

Mr Egan added: “We are looking at a number of possible locations and have decided to rule out Anna’s Road so we can focus on other sites, which we believe show greater potential at this time.

“The background to this decision includes technical constraints related to wintering birds. We are continuing our site selection assessment and will continue to keep local communities fully informed and engage with them on our plans as they develop.”

Fracking refers to the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into the ground to crack shale rocks and release the gas inside. Earlier this year, Mr Egan revealed Lancashire County Council had placed a six-month restriction on the period when the company could drill on site due to the environmental impact on birds on nearby moss land.

He added: “It has been well documented we’ve had an issue with wintering birds in the winter months. We just can’t use the existing site.”

The company has promised to restore Anna’s Road to its former condition, with work to start on removing the rig before the end of the year.

Mr Egan was adamant the closure of Anna’s Road would not deter Cuadrilla in its goal to extract gas from the shale rock under the Fylde coast.

He added: “I understand people will want to make something about it (the closure). It is very far from the case.”

Cuadrilla plans to continue assessing shale rock, with proposed sites for exploration to be revealed later this year.

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