MP calls for action on shaking homes

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A FYLDE MP has called for a gas drilling company to take radical action following complaints from residents about shaking homes and explosions.

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, had demanded Cuadrilla Resources, the company behind controversial shale gas fracking in the area, reduce the impact of its geophysical surveying near residential areas.

But after speaking to the company he now says he is happy with the measures they have put in place.

The company is currently detonating charges underground in a bid to establish the best places to carry out the controversial gas drilling technique – but had to stop work following a flood of complaints from residents in Wesham.

It temporarily ceased operations after being contacted by seven people in the Mowbreck Lane area but has since resumed.

One concerned resident today described the impact of the survey on his home.

Geoffrey Shaw, of Mowbreck Caravan Park, said; “I was sitting reading the paper when I heard an almighty bang and the caravan started to shake.

“I was really frightened, I didn’t know what was happening and feared the worst to be honest, I thought a bomb had gone off or it was another earthquake.

“After a couple of minutes I calmed down and realised it must be Cuadrilla, when the next one happened I was so incensed.

“Mark Miller (Cuadrilla’s chief executive) keeps apologising but he won’t make it stop, there is too much money involved.”

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Mr Menzies described the level of disturbance as ‘unacceptable’.

He said: “In recent weeks, I’ve received a large number of complaints from concerned constituents regarding the disturbance caused to them as a result of the surveys.

“Having met with, and spoken to, a number of these people, it’s my firm view this level of disturbance is unacceptable, even on a temporary basis.”

He has now set up a shale gas scrutiny group, consisting of officials and experts at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

The group will examine all relevant issues and regulations surrounding shale gas exploration and potential extraction.

Disturbance

Mr Miller said: “Following discussions with local people and Mr Menzies I have put in place additional controls to minimise any future disturbance.

“We shall increase the minimum distance between detonations and residences in the built-up areas of Lytham, Wrea Green, Kirkham and Wesham to 250m, with a distance of 500m used where possible. I’ve also ordered hours of working for detonations to be restricted to 9am – 6.30pm. ”

And Mr Menzies added: “I’m pleased they’ve responded quickly to what I’ve asked them to do .

“It’s now a case of monitoring the situation and ensuring the measures do address the affected areas in the coming days. I appreciate their rapid response, but I will be continuing to look out for the contractors at Cuadrilla and looking closely at their responses to what has been agreed.”

The survey is expected to be completed in early July. Anyone with concerns can contact Cuadrilla on 0800 170 1115.

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