Fresh call to raise fracking tremor safety level is blasted by Lancashire campaigners

Cuadrilla's fracking equipment at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's fracking equipment at Preston New Road
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Anti-fracking campaigners have blasted a shale gas firm after it put pressure om the Government to loosen safety restrictions.

INEOS has warned that the fracking industry could be stifled unless the 0.5ML tremor level is relaxed.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

The Government said last month it has no plans to do so.

INEOS said the current is over 3,000 times lower than the 4.0 level typically found in the US where over 1 million shale wells have been drilled.

It said: “INEOS believes the government’s current policy will do irreparable damage to the UK’s manufacturing base.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS chairman describes the government’s position as, “Unworkable, unhelpful and playing politics with the country’s future”

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said: “I can understand the frustration of our membership. In 2012 it was recognised by the Government that the traffic light system to regulate micro-seismicity was cautious and would be reviewed as experience developed.

"In the last 100 days there have been 88 seismic events recorded by the BGS in the UK, yet none of the Lancashire events featured in the top ten and only 1 in the top 25. None of these seismic events recorded caused harm to people or buildings."

He added that some geoscientists have said that a review of the micro-seismicity rules could be done safely.

But a spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said: “This aggressive and misinformed attack by Jim Ratcliffe on the government who have already reiterated that they have no plans to change the traffic light system on fracking, only goes to show how very desperate this fossil fuel, climate-change-exacerbating industry has become.

“Previous seismic events at Preese Hall in 2011 caused damage to the wellbore and also reported damage in surrounding properties: these seismic events were greatly below the 4ML he is promoting.

“It would indeed be a “foolish” politician who made adjustments to these levels, as Claire Perry MP has stated recently, but it would be a risk that communities would not accept and would readily take legal action upon.

Cuadrilla agreed to these levels, and were key to their inception. Begging the government to shift the goalposts at this point is both ludicrous and unacceptable.”