Cuadrilla is to apply for planning consent to hydraulically fracture (frack) and test the shale at its existing exploration well at Grange Hill. The company has also announced that it intends to apply for consent to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the gas flow at up to six new temporary exploration well sites in the Fylde.
A decision on drilling and testing at the existing Anna’s Road site will be deferred until later in the exploration programme. Cuadrilla says it is paying Arup, the engineering and environmental consultancy, to undertake Environmental Impact Assessments for each application to drill, fracture and flow-test. The precise locations of the new sites and the order in which they might be drilled will be determined over the coming months.
Cuadrilla will also apply for planning consent to drill up to three further vertical exploration wells. These wells will not be hydraulically fractured. They will allow additional rock samples to be taken, and further improve knowledge of the subsurface geology; apparently their locations will be discussed with the community before they are finalised.
RAFF’s response to the press
“We continue to be concerned at the rush to extract shale gas through fracking, before the safety of residents and our resources are assured. We will object to the planning applications and urge others to do the same. Groups and individuals opposing this, both locally and nationally, will not accept the risks to UK water, air, agriculture, livestock and human health; Cuadrilla and Centrica can expect a strong response aimed at stopping progress.
“The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has stated that Cuadrilla has “demonstrated some weaknesses in its management of environmental risks” after the fracking-induced tremors at the Preese Hall site and we have seen nothing to make us believe they have improved their practices.
“Each press release we read from Cuadrilla is focused on speed and quantity, with little or no reference to the well-being of the people of the Fylde. Earlier this year, Dougal Goodman, of the Royal Society’s shale gas extraction working group, called for monitoring to be carried out before, during and after shale gas operations to detect potential leakages of methane and other gases; where is the assurance this will be done?
“So far, the Fylde has had the earth tremors at Presse Hall and the abandonment last November of the borehole at the Anna’s Road site after testing equipment became jammed and yet the response from the industry’s PR firm Hill and Knowlton was: “There needs to be an industry-wide, offensive campaign with a fresh new narrative giving more of a brand feel to shale gas developments. Fracking needs a re-brand, perhaps with a ‘kitemark’ for safe developers.”
“We want a future that is safe and healthy, not a re-branding exercise and PR. Cuadrilla’s CEO Lord Browne, (former chief executive of BP), believes Lancashire could become the fracking capital of Europe and we will do all we can to stop this, before it starts.”
RAFF has been expecting these developments and we have been holding UK-wide discussions with other anti-fracking groups, environmental groups, and other interesting parties; we are also in constant touch with similar groups in Europe and North America. The national and international support is massive. We will shortly be contacting everyone on our ever growing mailing list with information on how you can help fight these insane developments going ahead.