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Frack Free United are pleased to support the letter in today’s The Times, in response to the fracking industry’s recent pleas through the media, to relax the seismic traffic light system for the benefit of shale gas extraction.

Today’s letter carries a powerful message, counter-signed by a host of international, independent leading academics and scientists. Their warning on climate change and the further burning of fossil fuels must be adhered, in light of the undeniable scientific evidence on this subject.

By the UK government backing further extraction of fossil fuels through fracking, will only serve to increase dangerous climate-changing emissions. We fully advocate the call to withdraw support for fracking and push forward with renewable energy infrastructure to meet the urgent challenge of climate change.

A spokesperson from Frack Free United said:

“We are pleased to support the independent scientists’ call for the government to withdraw their backing for fracking. The global climate change breakdown we currently face requires urgent action and a need to divest from fossil fuels. Fracking is not a “bridge” to a carbon-neutral future: it is yet another fossil fuel cheque that our climate cannot afford to cash. We are in a climate crisis and the UK government should declare it as one.”



Notes to Editors


The Times, letters, 27 February 2019


Sir, Recently Ineos and Cuadrilla, which both have significant interests in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, have demanded that the “traffic light” system that monitors seismicity at fracking well sites should be relaxed to allow larger earthquakes (reports, Feb 5 & 7). Following this a group of geoscientists signed a letter to The Times (Feb 9) in support of this demand.

This month the UK Institute of Public Policy Research reported that as a result of climate change “a new, highly complex and destabilised ‘domain of risk’ is emerging, which includes the risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems, at local and potentially even global levels”.

Climate change is already causing an increase in extreme weather events and driving accelerated melting of the polar ice sheets and Himalayan glaciers. Its primary causes are carbon dioxide emissions from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and rising methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction — particularly fracking. Meanwhile a new era of cheap, clean renewable energy and storage is arriving, with volumes doubling every two to three years. Is it not time that our leaders and scientific community withdrew their support for fracking and engaged in the challenge of transforming our society to meet this existential challenge?

Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor, School of Engineering, Newcastle University; Professor Peter Strachan, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University; Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College, London; Professor Andrew Blowers, The Open University; Dr Adam Broinowski, Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University; Dr Matthew Cotton, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Environment and Geography, University of York; Professor Richard Cowell, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University; Professor Mark Diesendorf, University of New South Wales; Dr Paul Dorfman, The Energy Institute, University College London; Professor Geraint Ellis, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr Ian Fairlie, Scientific consultant, UK; Denis Hall, Emeritus Professor, Heriot Watt University; Professor Stuart Haszeldine, FRSE, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh; Robert W Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University; Professor Mark Z Jacobson, School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University; Dr Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex; Professor Calvin Jones, Professor of Economics, Cardiff Business School; Dr Peter Kalmus, Associate Project Scientist, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr Dominic Kelly, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University; Dr Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur and writer, director at Solarcentury; Dr David Lowry, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Professor Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, University College London; Professor Majia H Nadesan, Risk Innovation Fellow, Arizona State University; Sir Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist and writer; William Powrie, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Southampton University; Andrew Simms, Research Associate, Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex; David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow; Dr Matt Watson, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield; Professor Andrew Watterson, Public Health and Population Health Research Group, University of Stirling


Say NO to weaker earthquake rules for fracking

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is calling on residents everywhere to write to their MPs and demand that fracking rules on earthquakes aren’t weakened.

The fracking industry – mainly Cuadrilla and INEOS – is calling on the Prime Minister to weaken the rules on earthquakes

Write to your MP today to oppose this proposal

At the moment, fracking must be halted if an earthquake occurs over 0.5 magnitude – something that has happened numerous times since drilling started again last year. The industry wants to raise this limit, allowing them to ignore bigger earthquakes and continue to frack.

We can’t allow the government to give in. Please write to your MP and ask them to urge the Prime Minister and the energy minister to dismiss these attempts to soften the regulations.

The government itself has hailed the current regulations as ‘world leading’, which were designed with the very industry that is now calling for them to be weakened. It is only now, when these rules are doing what they were designed to do – stopping bigger earthquakes – that the industry is demanding a change.

New polling shows the public feel their voices should take precedence over those in the fracking industry. Yet just 13% of people think the government is actually listening to them. This has to change to restore public faith.

The government must reassure the public that it won’t weaken these vital protections and will put community, not industry, voices first.

You can either write directly to your MP or fill in a pre-formatted form and letter here

Please do this as a matter of urgency.

Declare Climate Emergency and Divest From Fossil Fuels – Saturday 2 March, St Annes on Sea

We are going to march around St Anne’s Square, led by a samba band! At the end of the march which concludes in Ashton Gardens with speeches and declarations.

This march will highlight climate injustice and we will be encouraging local people, business and councils to declare climate emergency and divest from industries and suppliers that support environmental breakdown.

Encourage your friends to come out for what we hope will be a family-friendly, informative day!

Please bring your own Banners and Instruments.


Start from St Annes Road East ( opposite Our Lady Catholic Church) 11.00am
Turn right and over the Crescent, down through St Annes Square.
At the traffic lights (main junction) turn left on to Clifton Drive.
Turning first left onto Wood Street
Turning second left onto Park Road
Turn left back into St Annes Square
Turn right onto Garden Street
Into Ashton Gardens through the main gate to Memorial for speeches.

Travel to St Annes on Sea:

Train…..Preston Station P2 9.54am to arrive, St Annes Station, 10.20am
Bus…….Preston Bus Station No 68 Stand 4 stops St Annes Square
Blackpool town centre No 17 Stops St Annes Square

Parking in town centre car park on St Georges Road.

On arrival in St Annes make your way over the Crescent out of the Square to the meeting place, turning left at the bottom of the hill, a 5-minute walk from the Square.


Roseacre Awareness Group



12 February 2018

For immediate release

Today, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Communities announced his decision to refuse Cuadrilla’s appeal to frack for shale gas at Roseacre Wood in Lancashire.

Cuadrilla’s proposals on fracking for shale gas in the heart of rural Fylde, might have required an associated 15,000 journeys of the largest HGVs possible without special license – 44-tonne, six-axle juggernauts –  not including all other site traffic, on narrow and winding country lanes used by large numbers of of walkers, cyclists, horse riders, farm vehicles, livestock and commuters.

Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group, Barbara Richardson, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State has seen sense and rejected Cuadrilla’s appeal.

“Roseacre Wood was always a totally unsuitable location for an industry of this nature; a fact recognised by local residents, our parish, town, borough and county councils and even our two Conservative MPs. It is a clear endorsement for local authorities to be the appropriate decision making bodies for shale gas exploration applications.

“It has been a long and costly process, causing much stress and anxiety, but is a testament to all those who worked tirelessly to protect their community from an unwanted, unproven and inappropriate industry which has the potential to destroy huge areas of our rural and agricultural landscape.

“Over 13,000 people objected to the original plans. The community has spent five years, thousands of working hours and tens of thousands of pounds, producing evidence supporting Lancashire County Council’s  decision to refuse planning permission. This has caused considerable stress and anxiety, residents have shown great determination and resilience in trying to protect their communities.

“We do not believe fracking for shale gas, a dirty carbon intensive fossil fuel industry, has any place in our energy mix.  We must encourage and invest in renewable, green energy future for the sake of future generations.

“We are absolutely delighted that at last the government are listening to the community on this occasion and have realised that this industry is not suitable.

“We sincerely hope that Cuadrilla now respect the decision of the Secretary of State and do not attempt to override this decision. If they do, we will continue to fight.”

Susan Holliday, Chair of Preston New Road Action group (PNRAG) said:

“Preston New Road Action Group are delighted that permission has been refused for the Roseacre Site. No community should have to put up with the disruption and anxiety that has been suffered by the residents of Preston New Road for the last two years, so it is great to hear that Cuadrilla will not be progressing a second site.”


Helen Rimmer from Friends of the Earth said:

“This is fantastic news which will be a huge relief for local people. It’s also a triumph for the tireless local campaigners who have worked long and hard for this outcome.

“But many other communities across England fracking are still fighting fracking – the government must also listen to them and say no to this dirty and unwanted industry.

“With scientists warning that there is so little time left to get on top of climate change, it’s clearer than ever that the future lies in clean, renewable energy.”





07 FEBRUARY 2019

In another blow to the fracking industry, today’s 28th Wave Tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industry’s (BEIS) Quarterly Tracker on Public Attitudes was released, showing increased opposition to fracking, while support for the extraction technique has plummeted again.

Key points to note include:

– a 4% increase in opposition to fracking – 35%, up from 31% in September 2018’s tracker

– a 3% drop in support for fracking – just 13%, down from 15% in the last survey. This is the lowest level of support since the tracker began, with 13% support recorded in 2017

– 40% of respondents cited the risk of earthquakes as a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Support for fracking has dropped since the tracker began in 2014,down from a peak of 29% in March 2014, whereas opposition to shale gas has polled above 30% since March 2016

Public opinion for this poll has clearly been impacted by the 57 seismic events at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, with 40% of respondents citing earthquake risk as a key reason to oppose fracking – this was a dramatic increase, up from 26% in September 2018.

62% of respondents said that loss or destruction of the natural environment was a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Infrastructure Policy Manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“The government has today met its obligation to protect our environment and the public, by refusing to entertain the desperate calls by industry for a relaxation of regulations on seismic activity as a result of fracking.

‘It must now take this damning evidence that fracking does not have the support of the public into consideration as it makes its decision on proposals to fast-track fracking. Perusing this plan would defy local democracy and remove the voices of local communities in decisions over fracking proposals in their area.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The increased opposition to fracking and drop in support comes as no surprise, considering the large number of seismic events which have been experienced since fracking resumed on the Fylde Coast. Fracking’s unpopularity will also have been increased by people’s distaste for the fracking companies’ bully boy tactics as they have tried to browbeat government into changing the regulations governing the seismic traffic light system.”

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“How can shareholders or any sensible business keep on backing fracking? To continue forging ahead is beginning to look fanatical and totally irresponsible. Fracking is proving to be economically unviable, the industry cannot operate safely under the very same regulations they helped create.
“Fracking threatens industrial wipeout of some of the UK’s most valuable countryside and has no public support. It’s time for a change of direction. Fracking in our communities is never going to be a strategic winner for this country.”


Notes to Editors

1. BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 28





01 FEBRUARY 2019

On behalf of Concerned Residents of Lancashire, an event has been organised for the 9 February 2019, entitled: Fracking in Lancashire – the Impacts for Residents [1]. The venue is the Woodlands Suite, Ribby Hall, near Wrea Green, PR4 2PR [2] from 14.00-16.00.

The event venue in Wrea Green is close to Cuadrilla’s exploratory hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road.

Three keynote speakers will address the event, as well as representatives from the local community groups, followed by a question and answer session. The speakers for the day will be:

  • Sharon Wilson, a Texan resident who worked in the oil & gas industry for over a decade, who now with US environmental group Earthworks [3]. Sharon will share her personal and professional experience on the impacts of fracking. Additionally, she has briefed NATO and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the impacts of oil and gas extraction.
  • Dr Tim Thornton, a retired GP from Ryedale, on the health implications for residents living near fracking sites.
  • Professor David Smythe [4], Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow, on the geological situation fracking the Lancashire Bowland shale. Professor Smythe has appeared as an expert witness at several public inquiries on fracking.

Invitations have also been extended to local MPs, all Lancashire county councillors, the Shale Gas Commissioner Natascha Engel, Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, minister for business, energy and industrial strategy Claire Perry MP and shadow secretary of state for international trade, Barry Gardiner.

The community groups will also provide updates on what is happening at the Preston New Road site, the Secretary of State’s decision on the Roseacre Wood appeal and a planning application for Altcar Moss near Formby.

The event is free admission but tickets must be secured via Eventbrite due to limited space available.


Notes to Editors:

  1. Eventbrite link – Fracking in Lancashire: The Impacts for Residents
  2. Ribby Hall Village
  3. Earthworks
  4. Professor David Smythe

Fracking In Lancashire – the impacts for residents: an information event


When: 9 February 2019, 14.00 – 16.00

Where: Ribby Hall, Woodlands Suite, Ribby Road, Wrea Green PR4 2PR. View Map

With fracking commencing at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, and large areas of Lancashire potentially open to shale gas exploration, this event is an opportunity to hear from experts in health, geology and thermography about what fracking could mean for our communities.

As well as short presentations from key speakers there will be an opportunity for a Q&A to ask them what fracking has meant for communities in the USA and what it could mean for you.


  • Sharon Wilson, a Texan who worked in the oil & gas industry for over a decade, now with US environmental group Earthworks. Sharon will share her personal and professional experiences on the impacts of fracking. She has briefed NATO and the US. Environmental Protection Agency on the impacts of oil and gas extraction.
  • Dr Tim Thornton, a retired GP from Ryedale, on the health implications for residents living near fracking sites.
  • Professor David Smythe, geologist, on the environmental impacts of fracking the Lancashire Bowland shale.

Updates will be provided by local residents’ groups.

This is a free event. Tickets are available here.






22 NOVEMBER 2018


As we approach the end of the third week with no fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road, residents are asking questions about the situation, but Cuadrilla are not offering any answers. Just five weeks into the fracking process, the situation is clearly not what should be expected.

We know from campaigners’ 24-hour observations from outside the site that Cuadrilla fracked for three weeks until 2 November. Between 18 October and 4 November this caused 36 earthquakes, the largest of which was 1.1 Ml and the last one was 0.7Ml. Six of these quakes were recorded by the British Geological Survey as being 0.5Ml or above.

Since 2November, almost three weeks ago, Cuadrilla appears to have stopped fracking at the site. However, there is activity at the site, albeit minimal, usually comprising of staff entering and exiting the site and the odd cherry picker working near the silo tanks.

It has been suggested that, as well as the earthquakes, Cuadrilla is facing problems ranging from further issues with their “impermeable” membrane to problems with their well bore. This uncertainty has led to local MP Mark Menzies requesting an independent investigation into well integrity at the site.

As the coiled tubing has been removed from its tower it is also suggested that Cuadrilla may have abandoned their first well without having been able to inject sufficient fluid or proppant to achieve a commercially acceptable flow of gas.

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire commented:

“Local residents are living in an information vacuum. We can all see that this is not going to plan for Cuadrilla but they are refusing to allay our concerns by providing the community with the relevant facts. Instead, when our representatives on the Community Liaison Group question the regulators, they are fobbed off every time with excuses about “commercial sensitivity”.

“The local and national media are now coming to us looking for answers because Cuadrilla refuse to engage with them. If this is how the industry conducts itself when it is trying to present itself as a responsible operation, then what can we expect when they have all the permissions they need and start on their project of turning Lancashire into “the largest gas field in Western Europe”?”



“Frack Free Lancashire is concerned by the increasing frequency and intensity of seismic events accompanying fracking operations at Preston New Road and is now calling for an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Fylde.

“Eminent geologists have warned that events of the magnitude experienced over the last two weeks could be the precursor to a more major seismic event like those that occurred at Preese Hall in 2011. These caused damage to the wellbore and led to a seven-year interruption for the UK fracking industry.

“The democratic decisions that have been taken by our representatives on fracking, and even the overturning of these decisions by the government were all conducted based on a set of assumptions which presupposed the existence of a tight regulatory framework. This framework included this traffic light system with today’s limits.

“These regulations were put into place explicitly to protect the community and not to make the fracking companies’ job easier and more profitable. The suggestions from Cuadrilla and others in the industry that the regulatory goalposts should be moved simply because they are unable to manage their operations to stay within them is totally unacceptable. If the industry is unviable outside of this existing regulatory framework then they should pack up and leave.

“Our government’s behind the scenes dealings with the industry which seem aimed at weakening the protections suggested by the review into Preese Hall are a further sign that our “gold standard” shale gas regulation is a tawdry imitation of what we have a right to expect. We learned from a leaked letter published in the Guardian that Energy Minister Claire Perry MP, had suggested that “the trigger levels [of the traffic light system] can be adjusted upwards”, which would effectively give carte blanche to the fracking industry to provoke larger, stronger earthquakes, putting communities and even their own fracking equipment in danger.

“We note that Ms Perry was also reported to have had private round-table meetings with the fracking industry, which were not recorded on transparency registers. Today, The Times reports that Cuadrilla are calling for the seismicity trigger levels to be increased, with Francis Egan stating: “We appreciate the requirement for a conservative approach and will follow the traffic light system. That said, we consider that a red light limit of circa 2.0ML [local magnitude] would provide more than adequate assurance that no harm or damage could arise from fracking.”

“A quake of 2.0 Ml is 32 times larger than one at the existing limit of 0.5Ml and 178 times larger in terms of energy release. Such a change would be completely unacceptable to communities and should be rejected out of hand by our regulators, who should also be aware of the advice given by geology expert, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, who stated:

“The practical significance is not whether these tremors are felt at the surface or not, but in the potential to damage the borehole, and the potential to create gas pathways from the shale towards larger faults, towards shallower aquifers, and to the surface.”

“Residents experienced previous property damage from Cuadrilla’s operations in 2011, where an earthquake effectively shut down this industry due to damage to the wellbore which was reported to have led to a loss of integrity.

“With history seeming poised to repeat itself, a moratorium on fracking in the area is the only sensible course of action.”




  1. For further information, please contact or visit

For further information contact Claire Stephenson



Cuadrilla temporarily halted fracking at its site in Lancashire after a tremor located near the toe of their lateral well triggered the Seismic Traffic Light system. The seismic activity – around 0.4 local magnitude – was detected on Tuesday afternoon whilst fracking operations were taking place.

Even though it was not felt at the surface, the tremor is classed as an Amber event as part of the UK government’s traffic light system in place for monitoring seismic events during shale gas operations.

These are designed to protect the wellbore from the type of damage experienced seven years ago when fracking at Preese Hall. Cuadrilla has previously dismissed a 0.3 Ml tremor on the basis that it did not occur while pumping.

Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, Professor David Smythe told Frack Free Lancashire today:

“While the tremors induced to date are tiny, nevertheless the traffic-light system of monitoring induced seismicity does state that if a magnitude 0.5 event (or greater) is triggered by fracking, then the injection of hydraulic fluid must stop. But even this scanty piece of legislation has been poorly drafted, since it appears to permit tremors occurring after the end of a period of injection to be discounted.

“Cuadrilla now appears to be arguing that only events triggered during fracking, defined as actual injection of fluid under high pressure, will be counted in the traffic-light system.

“Scientifically, Cuadrilla’s slice-and-dice approach to the overall fracking job in a well is untenable, because there is often a delay between the end of an injection stage and the onset of a triggered event caused by the injection.

“For example, the Cuadrilla-commissioned report into the earthquakes triggered by fracking of shale in the vertical Preese Hall-1 well notes that the two strongest tremors (of magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5) each occurred about 10 hours after the cessation of injection in stages 2 and 4 respectively.

“The injection fluid needs time to seep along a fault zone until such time as enough of the fault has thereby been lubricated. If the shale is critically stressed – that is, it is ready to crack – the fault will slip, causing the earthquake. Cuadrilla was forced to admit that these earthquakes were caused by fracking at Preese Hall-1, although initially it denied any link. Unfortunately for Cuadrilla, all the shale in the Bowland Basin seems to be critically stressed, so the problem won’t simply disappear.”

In a statement, Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Seismicity must be monitored closely around the clock if hydraulic fracturing is allowed to continue in spite of the cluster of tremors we have seen around the toe of Cuadrilla’s well.

“Local residents are rightly concerned by these events and the fact that the traffic light system has had to halt operation just a week into the process. The issue is not whether these events can be felt, but whether they could be precursors to similar events that occurred at Preese Hall in 2011, which led to Cuadrilla’s performance as a licencee being questioned by the then Energy Minister, Charles Hendry.”

The well integrity and safety of what happens underground is beyond anyone’s control, following a seismic event. This risky technology employed by an inexperienced operator is something residents will never support and our strong opposition will continue.”

In parliament this week, during the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Shale Gas, Chair Lee Rowley MP stated that the government’s Traffic Light System may only be applicable to Lancashire and not at other sites across the country. And via a letterto Kevin Hollinrake MP from Energy Minister Claire Perry MP, she stated that she would look to relaxing the seismicity trigger levels by adjusting them “upwards”, presumably to benefit the fracking industry.



  1. British Geological Survey Earthquakes Around the British Isles in The Last 50 Days.
  2. Small quakes at fracking sites may indicate bigger tremors to come, say Stanford scientists
  3. Professor Smythe is available for interviews. Please contact Claire Stephenson for information.

Contact: Claire Stephenson +44 07929 969664