Lancashire campaigners ready to oppose fracking U-turn as crucial report is due

Campaigners in Lancashire have vowed to continue to oppose fracking, as a key report on its future is expected this month.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 12:30 pm

The British Geological Survey has been preparing a report on safety and the predictability of earth tremors associated with fracking after being ordered by the Government to do so in April under pressure from back-bench Conservatives and the onshore oil and gas industry in the wake of rising fuel prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Government imposed a moratorium on fracking in November 2019, following a series of tremors caused by Cuadrilla’s two fracked wells at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, but environmentalists fear this may now be overturned and fracking restarted.

The report is set to come days after Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee, warned in a briefing on a new climate report, that the country urgently needed to move away from fossil fuels and investment in fracking would be a “grave error”.

The Preston New Road fracking site where Cuadrilla fracked two horizontally drilled wells testing for gas in the shale rocks deep below the surface (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said: “Just when all of our efforts and resources should be focused on investing in renewable energy sources, we are being dragged back to increasing our usage of fossil fuels with talk of resurrecting the crumbled dinosaur that is fracking.

“The Climate Change Committee report was released this week, giving a stark warning on the government’s failure to act on the climate crisis, writing that investing in fracking is a grave error as the plans for the UK not using any gas at all by mid-2030s, are ‘absolute’.

“After 10 plus years of fracking attempts in Lancashire, there has been absolutely no progress other than communities being torn apart, mass uncontrollable methane emissions, structural damage from earthquakes and most notable of all: zero commercial gas produced.

A man refuses to come down from the back of a truck in an anti-fracking protest. The Preston New Road fracking site saw a series of long running protests and blockades as anti-fossil fuel campaigners opposed the use of hydraulic fracturing to try to recover natural gas from underground

“We stand strongly opposed to fracking anywhere and will fiercely challenge any attempt to renege on the current moratorium in the UK.”

The British Geological Survey confirmed that it had carried out a “a desk-based review into new developments in the science of shale gas extraction and the modelling of seismic activity in shale rocks in the UK”.

The report was now going thorough a peer review process before it can be submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who will be publishing the details.