Town hall to keep a closer eye on drilling

Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton.
Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton.
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SHALE gas drilling on the Fylde coast is set to be the subject of greater town hall scrutiny in a bid to keep a close eye on the controversial process.

Councillors have resolved to ask for a special group to be set up to look into Cuadrilla Resources’ activities following a meeting with the energy firm’s chiefs.

Cuadrilla’s sites at Preese Hall, in Weeton, and Grange Road, Singleton, are the first in the UK to drill for shale gas and concerns have been raised over the safety of the operations and possible links to recent earthquakes.

Bosses were quizzed by Fylde Council’s community focus scrutiny committee and local residents on Thursday and committee chairman Coun Kiran Mulholland said: “The committee decided unanimously Cuadrilla should be an item for in-depth scrutiny.

“There have been horrendous stories from America, and France have put a moratorium on shale gas drilling so we need to be able to confirm what they are doing is not going to damage the Fylde or the people of the Fylde.”

The issues surrounding the shale gas drilling were debated for almost two hours with Peter Turner, the man in charge of geology at Cuadrilla, and Chris Herd, who oversees environmental issues for the company.

Committee member Coun Maxine Chew, who represents Singleton, has toured the Grange Road site in the past and said: “I’m extremely pleased the council are going to do an in-depth investigation.

“They will look into the whys, wherefores and suitabilities of shale gas exploration.”

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said the company welcomed ongoing communication with the council and believed it was “important” to engage with the community.

Exploratory drilling is continuing at the Singleton site, but hydraulic fracking is temporarily suspended at the Preese Hall site while the British Geological Society and Department of Energy and Climate Change investigate an earthquake last month.