New tremor monitors for fracking

Cuadrilla's fracking site at Preese Hall on The Fylde
Cuadrilla's fracking site at Preese Hall on The Fylde
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The company which wants to frack for gas on the Fylde has outlined the increased monitoring which will take place when it resumes its drilling operations next year.

Cuadrilla Resources held a public information day in Blackpool to put across its case for extracting natural gas in the area by hydraulically fracturing - using high pressure water and chemicals to flush out the gas from deep lying shale rock.

Members of the public visited the Piper’s Heights Caravan Park to see displays from the company and talk to key personnel who will be involved in drilling operations should planning permission and permits be granted.

Seismic engineer Huw Clarke said that the company will be installing up to 80 geophone detectors at each site to keep a close eye on any earth tremors which may be produced by the processes.

Fracking operations were put on hold by the Government for two years following two tremors caused by the Preese Hall site in 2010.

He said: “These will be buried around the sites. They are like super sensitive microphones that can detect even the slightest vibrations such as people walking on the surface or even trees’ roots moving in the wind.

“The British Geological Survey is going to be monitoring too. They are installing a new seismic array monitor on the Fylde – the nearest one at the moment is in the Keswick area. What it means is that all these systems will increase accuracy and sensitivity to help pinpoint the source of any trouble.”
He said these with the new “Traffic Light” safety system and the underground three dimensional survey of rock in the Fylde area would ensure no reoccurance of the Preese Hall incident.”

Cuadrilla’s Matt Lambert said the public meetings had been going well and that people had many questions for the company. He said: “People want to know about seismic issues, about any threat to the environment, about the fracking fluids and what we are going to do with the water and even the statutory processes.

“We have come here with Arup who are carrying out the environmental impact studies and who are giving feedback to the public, and there are representatives from the Department of the Environment too.”

Members of the public at the event were keen to find out more about the fracking issue and were sceptical about the imnpact it might have on the environment.

Jean King, of Freckleton, said: “We are concerned about what effect it might have on the environment. When they inject fluid into the ground to get the gas, I want to know what they are going to do with that contaminated water afterwards.”

Noreen Griffiths, of Freckleton, added: “All the sites are on natural habitats and I am concerned that these are not damaged by fracking.”

Pete Grindrod of Lytham said: “I am not against fracking if it is safe. In America they have fracked extensively but it is areas away from people. Here all the sites will be near houses. I want to know what they will do with all the contaminated water and to make sure there will be no repeats of the tremors.