Fracking firm gets go ahead for second well

The drill site at Preston New Road where fracking is due to take place by early next month.
The drill site at Preston New Road where fracking is due to take place by early next month.

Shale gas exploration firm Cuadrilla has been given the go ahead by the government to test frack its second well on the Fylde.

It means it can now carry out hydraulic fracturing, injecting water, chemicals and sand into deep lying shale rock to release gas, at both holes it has drilled at its site off Preston New Road near Little Plumpton.

The news has pleased supporters but opponents say fracking is not a clean source of energy.

John Kersey, from Lancashire For Shale, said: “This is really welcome news. Cuadrilla now has all the permissions it needs to start fracking again so we can finally discover how soon all this gas we’re sitting on will be able to start heating our homes and businesses.

“The fact that final approval has to come from a government Minister shows just how seriously everyone takes the regulatory side of things.”

The group said it was timely news as a recent report showed coal-fired power generation has increased in Britain as a consequence of rising gas prices due to supply disruption abroad.

Lee Petts, chairman at Lancashire For Shale, said: “When imports are disrupted, as they were twice last winter, the ensuing price hikes can lead to more climate-damaging coal being burned in electricity generation because it becomes cheaper and, crucially, can supply power on-demand unlike weather dependent wind, wave and solar renewables.”

But Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said: “We need to urgently decrease our reliance use of gas and fossil fuels, and the UK certainly shouldn’t even be contemplating a new industry producing shale gas, which would contribute towards climate change.

“Recent studies have demonstrated just how dangerous fugitive methane emissions from fracking are. In Pennsylvania, the Environmental Defense Fund found that fracking “causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants”.