Drilling for shale gas could be carried out at two planned sites in Lancashire without any unacceptable noise levels from the rig, an expert has said.
Dr David Hiller was speaking at a public inquiry into gas exploration company Cuadrilla’s bid to “frack” in the county.
The proposed exploration works could be undertaken without any adverse noise impact
Dr Hiller said that according to tests the gas exploration company had carried out, and previous experience at other sites, the noise levels from drilling would fall well within acceptable limits.
He was giving evidence in Blackpool on the third day of a public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council’s refusal of permission to frack at sites in Roseacre Wood, near Elswick, and Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
He questioned whether World Health Organisation guidelines on noise levels being quoted by opponents of fracking were appropriate to the temporary shale gas exploration operation that Cuadrilla was proposing.
Dr Hiller said the Government’s observations on noise levels during the construction Hs2, which could go on for 10 years, should be taken into account.
Dr Hiller, called on behalf of Cuadrilla, said in view of the noise generated by drilling, there was “no sound reason to reject the exploration at either site on the grounds of noise.”
He said: “The proposed exploration works could be undertaken without any adverse noise impact.”
Questioned by counsel for Cuadrilla, Dr Hiller said a suggestion that noise from the rig could be reduced further by “shrouding” part of it was an unreasonable and costly burden for what it would achieve.
There were no visible protesters outside the hearing and around 20 people in the public gallery yesterday, the third day of the inquiry.
The hearing, chaired by government inspector Wendy McKay, is expected to last around three weeks.