Jail shale is a non-starter

At Annas Road, off Peel Road
At Annas Road, off Peel Road
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A DRILLING company chief has allayed fears that shale gas exploration is to take place on land at Kirkham Prison.

Concerns were raised when it was discovered an application for permission to drill at the jail was submitted to Lancashire County Council.

The application was also forwarded to Fylde Council for its views on the visual appearance and operating hours of any drilling.

But controversial drilling company Cuadrilla – which has sparked outrage in Fylde over its ‘fracking’ extraction method – this week told the Express it had no plans whatsoever to drill there.

The application, which has now resurfaced for renewal, was originally submitted by Warwick Energy for conventional oil and gas drilling some years ago. Cuadrilla now have the licence to drill for shale gas in Fylde and admitted to having a “deal” with Warwick Energy.

However, a spokesman for Cuadrilla said regarding the application: “It did come as part of a deal we had with Warwick Energy.

“But I have been told by Mark Miller (Cuadrilla Chief Executive) we have absolutely no plans to do anything on that site at all.

“It’s just something that’s kept on the books.”

American-owned Cuadrilla have already put in applications at several sites on the Fylde - including Preese Hall, Weeton; north of Hale Hall Farm, Wharles, south of Grange Lane, Singleton; and Anna’s Road, Westby.

Meanwhile, A “watershed” meeting was due to take place between Fylde Council’s scrutiny task and finish group and Mr Miller last night.

St Annes-based technical expert Mike Hill has been advising the council on shale gas drilling in the Fylde.

He has told the council that drilling is alarmingly unregulated and Fylde should brace itself for a shale gas goldrush that would bring hundreds of drilling sites to the area.

Coun Kiran Mulholland, chairman of the scrutiny task and finish group, said before the meeting: “It is a watershed meeting because we are meeting Mark Miller. Some of Mike’s concerns with regard to regulation and monitoring were shared by Mark Miller.”