Anti-frack group tells of concerns over permit

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An anti-fracking group has told of major concerns after the Environment Agency granted a permit required by energy firm Curadrilla to allow them to frack for shale gas in Little Plumpton.

The EA granted the permit last week. Making the announcement, Steve Molyneux, the EA’s environment manager for Lancashire, said: “After completing a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and the public consultation responses, we are confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected.

“The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely, and protect local water resources.

“We value the feedback received during the public consultation and will continue to work with the local community. Should Cuadrilla begin exploration, we will ensure the permit conditions are enforced.”

But John Hobson, from campaign group Defend Lytham, said the group has “serious concerns” about the EA’s ability to enforce the permits because of budget and staff cuts at the agency.

He added: “As a result it is likely that we will have to rely on Cuadrilla complying with these regulations voluntarily – effectively marking their own homework – at a time when the financial pressure on the shale gas companies is increasing with every downward lurch of the price of oil.

“Defend Lytham is worried that financial pressure may lead to corners being cut – as happened in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.”