Watchdog agrees Fylde fracking licence changes

Cuadrilla's fracking drill rig at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's fracking drill rig at Preston New Road
Share this article

Shale gas drilling firm Cuadrilla has won permission to make changes to the way it operates at its Fylde fracking site.

The firm had asked to change the way it is set to burn off gas to test the flow to make things more flexible, to put seismic monitors down drill holes rather than just at the surface and how it deals with surface water at the site.

Opponents said the changes would intensify fracking and mean more contaminated water carried on roads.

Steve Molyneux, environment manager for the Environment Agency in Cumbria and Lancashire, said: “After completing a thorough assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and fully considering all of the responses to our public consultations, we are confident that the environmental permit sets out the right conditions to ensure that people and the environment are protected.

“The regulatory controls covered by the original permit provide a high level of protection for people and the environment. The changes also meet these strict requirements.

“Our inspectors will enforce the conditions to ensure that waste is managed properly and both air quality and groundwater are protected.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We are pleased the Environment Agency has granted the requested variations to our mining waste permit following two public consultations and their own experts’ review.

“These variations have no negative impact on the environment. In fact the changes for seismic monitoring actually mean far fewer seismic monitoring stations are required, with less surface impact and fewer trucks in constructing sites.”

Helen Rimmer, from Friends of the Earth, said: “We are extremely concerned the Environment Agency has given Cuadrilla the go ahead to intensify their fracking operations at Preston New Road, and at the lack of scrutiny of their flawed flowback waste figures.”