MP's queries over water at frack site

An MP has written to the Government to ensure fracking firm Cuadrilla abides by the terms of its licence.

Friday, 22nd December 2017, 3:22 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd December 2017, 3:25 pm
Cuadrilla's fracking site at Preston New Road

Fylde’s Mark Menzies was checking up on compliance at the shale gas site at Preston New Road following fears about water on the surface earlier this year.

He asked what assessment the Environment Agency has made of the level of compliance with relevant environmental restrictions by Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla has this month applied to change the way it treats standing water. It wants to treat it on site and release it into nearby Carr Bridge Brook rather than tankering it away.

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Environment Secretary Dr Therese Coffey replied: “The Environment Agency assesses that to date Cuadrilla have been, in general, compliant with their permit conditions.

The Environment Agency expects full compliance against Environmental Permits but it is not uncommon for industrial sites to have minor non-compliances after site inspections and audits.

“The Environment Agency has raised concerns over the management of surface water on site and has asked the operator to address this as a matter of priority.”

Mr Menzies said: “I have always called for a gold standard of regulation if the shale gas industry was to be allowed. I’m pleased to see the Environment Agency appears to be fulfilling its obligations, having carried out 10 inspections at the Preston New Road site in the past five months alone, with two visits unannounced.

“The number of Environment Agency staff on our patch has increased from 370 two years ago, to 389 earlier this year – that’s more feet on the ground to carry out these vital checks.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “We are pleased with the Environment Agency’s assessment of our compliance with the permits granted to us, and that it is not uncommon for industrial projects such as ours to have a few minor non-compliance issues which we have resolved.”

He said surface water had gathered on site, because the well pad had been constructed with an impermeable membrane that acts like a ‘bath tub’ to catch the water.