Landowners' fears over fracking liability

The fracking rig at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton
The fracking rig at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton
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Anti-fracking campaigners on the Fylde have echoed land-owners fears over legal liability for problems which may occur after fracking.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has written to the Government to call for assurances that its members won’t be left paying out if issues occur in subsequent years with pollution after fracking.

CLA deputy president Tim Breitmeyer said: “The Government has not made sufficient progress to properly tackle the long-term liability of fracking leaving landowners at risk long after drilling has stopped.

“It is critical that the right protections are in place to ensure the long-term integrity of well sites and remove any risk to future use of affected land.

“It is greatly concerning that despite the acknowledged risk, the Government continues to encourage the industry to increase the number of sites in development without an adequate solution to liabilities being in place.”

The CLA has written to minister Richard Harrington with its concerns saying it has been waiting for answers for four years.

A Frack Free Lancashire spokesman said: “Farmers and landowners are right to be concerned about the long term impacts of fracking on their land. It is an industrial process. There is much evidence from overseas of the harm. It is a fact that all wells do leak over time.

“Once abandoned they are merely concrete pipes and concrete erodes over time. No-one knows where the fracking fluid, left underground, will actually end up.”

A spokesman for UKOOG, the industry body representing onshore oil and gas, said it was discussing insurance with the Government: “The industry has made clear on a number of occasions that it has no wish to leave this responsibility to the taxpayer or the landowner.

The decommissioning of our sites is an important part of the regulatory system which we take extremely seriously.”