Expert’s gas drilling fears

The drilling equipment used by Cuadrilla Resources at its site in Singleton
The drilling equipment used by Cuadrilla Resources at its site in Singleton

AN expert has warned of the dangers of a massive increase in shale gas extraction in Fylde – frighteningly dubbing it ‘Gasland UK the sequel’.

Chartered engineer Mike Hill has been advising Fylde Council’s task and finish group on shale gas drilling in the borough.

Hesketh Bank site

Hesketh Bank site

Campaigners have already warned of shale gas ‘carpet bombing’ with Fylde at the centre of the target in the North West.

Anti-drilling campaigners are predicting an area stretching south from the Wyre estuary to beyond Southport and east beyond the M6 motorway should a gas exploration company get its way.

Protestors say plans by Cuadrilla – the UK company licensed to explore Lancashire’s natural shale gas resources – would include up to 800 gas wells at some 80 sites.

The controversial extraction method, ‘fracking’, has already been blamed for two minor earthquakes at Preese Hall, Over Wyre.

Mr Hill, of Balmoral Road, St Annes, has warned the task and finish group of the worrying lack of regulation into shale gas drilling in this country.

And he said health problems in the USA, allegedly as a result of fracking, were just not scaremongering.

Gasland is a 2010 American documentary film focusing on communities affected by fracking.

Mr Hill said: “We are facing that at the moment, we are not there yet, but we are getting there.

“It is not acceptable 800 wells could be drilled in West Lancashire, with fracking, with little or no regulation.

“A lot of other companies are going to come to the UK. It is going to be a free for all.” Cuadrilla says there are more than 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in all the shale in its Lancashire area.

The compnay says a shale gas industry in the UK, with the Lancashire at its centre, would be a big economic boost to the British economy.

It is estimated it could create up 5,600 skilled jobs – 1,700 in Lancashire.