Biggest tremor on record at Little Plumpton site forces halt to fracking in Lancashire

The Caudrilla fracking site at at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
The Caudrilla fracking site at at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

A tremor measuring 1.5 magnitude has forced Cuadrilla to halt fracking at the Lancashire site.


The British Geological Survey (BGS) recorded a series of tremors this morning at the controversial fracking site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The exact location of the tremors, according to the British Geological Survey.

The exact location of the tremors, according to the British Geological Survey.

Nine tremors were detected at the site within 90 minutes this morning, with the latest tremor measuring a magnitude of 1.5ML. Regulations state that fracking must be halted if tremors exceed 0.5ML.

According to the BGS database, the 1.5 magnitude tremor is the largest detected at the site since monitoring began. It has been claimed the tremor was felt in the Blackpool area.

The nine tremors recorded today are also the most recorded at the site in a single day.

The earlier eight tremors measured magnitudes between - 0.4 and 0.0, between 9.35am and 10.18am this morning.

But the latest 1.5ML tremor,which occurred at 11.21am, exceeds the maximum magnitude allowed for fracking.

Caudrilla has now been forced to take immediate action and halt fracking at the site for 18 hours.

READ MORE: Earthquake, tremor or seismic activity: what is happening at the Lancashire fracking site?

A quake measuring a magnitude of - 0.3 was also recorded at the site yesterday.

They are the latest in a series of minor tremors since Cuadrilla began fracking at the site in October, after spending two years exploring the site.

Cuadrilla issued a statement in response to the 1.5ML (local magnitude) micro seismic event detected within their Lancashire operational area this morning.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: "A series of micro seismic events in Blackpool have been recorded on the British Geological Survey website this morning following hydraulic fracturing at our shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, Lancashire.

“The largest recorded was 1.5ML (local magnitude) at about 11.20am. This occurred after hydraulic fracturing had finished for the day.

"According to recent research by the University of Liverpool the impact would be like dropping a melon.

"A series of smaller micro seismic events occurred during hydraulic fracturing, beginning at about 9.40am.

“Cuadrilla will pause and continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least the next 18 hours, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified.”

READ MORE: Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet recorded at Lancashire site

Tony Bosworth, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, reacted to news of the largest earthquake to take place in Lancashire since fracking started.

He said: “Within a day of Cuadrilla re-starting fracking in Lancashire, there has already been another earthquake which means they’ve had to down tools.

“It appears that they cannot frack without triggering tremors. And instead of acknowledging that fracking needs to end, Cuadrilla are instead urging for regulations around earthquakes to be relaxed.

“We’ve always said that fracking poses risks for our climate and environment. After today’s quake, and with the effects of climate breakdown already happening around us, isn’t it time to put a stop to fracking once and for all?”

Cuadrilla is obliged to stop fracking for 18 hours if a quake of more than magnitude 0.5 is detected, which has happened several times since October.