Lancashire

Cuadrilla applying to frack at two Lancashire sites

the Banks site Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The well will be sealed and the site restored to its former condition

An application to carry out fracking on the Fylde coast will be submitted to Lancashire County Council by the end of the month, said energy firm Cuadrilla.

It said it was applying to drill, hydraulically fracture and test gas flow at up to four exploration wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

It said it would also submit an application for its Roseacre Wood site "a few weeks later".

Campaigners say fracking is harmful to the environment.

'Gas potential'

The energy company said it had produced a detailed environmental impact assessment as part of the application.

The firm said it was applying to install a network of "monitoring stations" within 4km (2.4 miles) of the Preston New Road site.

Cuadrilla's chief executive Francis Egan said the application could be an "important milestone for Lancashire" in unlocking its shale gas potential.

He has estimated the market value of shale gas reserves in Lancashire at £136bn.

Mr Egan said the firm had undertaken "extensive consultation and engagement" with local people.

'Wall of opposition'

Lancashire County Council said once the application was registered it would reach a decision "within 16 weeks".

Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - is a technique in which water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

Lawrence Carter from Greenpeace said Cuadrilla "could not have picked a worse time to push ahead with their drilling plans in Lancashire" and were "bound to hit a wall of opposition".

"Fracking firms are ploughing ahead despite widespread concerns about the impact of fracking on water supply, air pollution and the industrialisation of our countryside."

The technique was suspended in the UK in 2011 after fracking of shale gas deposits near Blackpool was linked to two minor earthquakes.

A study by the British Geological Survey placed the epicentre for each quake about 500m away from the Preese Hall-1 well.

A government report published in June 2012 concluded fracking was safe if adequately monitored.

The company said in December no further work would take place at the site near Weeton.

Cuadrilla also confirmed it was pulling out of Becconsall well, near Banks, and said it would not seek to frack at its Anna's Road site in St Annes.

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