Concern over fracking impact

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw has said that communities affected by any future fracking activity in Lancashire should receive “an adequate payback”.

Commenting on the government energy secretary, Ed Davey’s decision to re-allow exploratory fracking on the Fylde coast, Mr Ollerenshaw said:

“I have never been against shale gas in principle.

“Instead, my concerns have been about ensuring that local residents and the local environment are not put at risk by any activity.

“We have been through a year long pause in fracking and during that time investigation and independent review of the evidence has been carried out.

“This has resulted in the decision to re-allow exploratory fracking, on a case by case basis, but with an enhanced regulatory regime in place,

together with new requirements on energy companies doing the fracking.”

Last April and May, two small earthquakes of magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 forced Cuadrilla Resources to stop fracking operations on the Fylde coast.

Fracking is where water and chemicals are injected into rocks at high pressure to extract gas from the cracks.

Following an investigation, Caudrilla said that their operation was the likely cause of the tremors, resulting in massive public outcry and a government investigation.

But the government last week gave Caudrilla the all clear to re-start exploration work in the “Bowland Basin” where it hopes to exploit 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

Mr Ollerenshaw adde: “I’m still concerned at the impact of this process on the water table, given many of my constituents take their water from their own wells and are yet to be connected to a mains water supply. If these tests indicate the practicability of commercial extraction of shale gas in Lancashire, then I will be pressing the Secretary of State for Energy and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a community compensation scheme both for individual landowners and the wider community. If Lancashire is expected to plug the energy gap for the rest of the UK then Lancashire must receive an adequate payback.”

Friends of the Earth branded the government’s decision as “reckless”.