“We are surprised to read that Mr Egan thinks that his industry is ‘being held back by a micro-seismic Traffic Light System, set with an upper limit of just 0.5 on the Richter scale, with no credible scientific basis’.
“This is a very strange claim to make given that he wrote to the then Energy Minister, when this Traffic Light System was devised seven years ago, claiming that Cuadrilla themselves had developed it ‘in conjunction with with industry experts and [his] team at DECC’.
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Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors.
Anna Szolucha December 14, 2018
On high alert
Local residents are concerned the earthquakes may cause cracks in the fracking well’s casing, which could potentially lead to contamination issues. Some scientists claim the impact of these seismic events at surface is equivalent to dropping a melon onto the floor. But government officials and those in the fracking industry have dismissed the tremors suggesting they are inconsequential.
As a social scientist living in Lancashire, I have been researching the social impacts of shale gas developments since 2015. From what I have seen, there is much more to the tremors than just ground movements. The impact of the quakes that occurred far below ground reverberated strongly throughout the community living on the surface. To understand why this is the case it is important to understand local people’s experiences of shale gas exploration in the UK.
Fracking on shaky ground
The same operator, Cuadrilla, was fracking for shale gas in the area seven years ago. Two bigger and around 50 smaller earthquakes occurred over an eight-month period as a result of injecting fluid into a geological fault zone.In 2018 and under new seismicity controls Cuadrilla was required to halt its fracking operations twice when the monitoring equipment detected tremors bigger than 0.5 local magnitude. The system was introduced to set “gold standard” regulations for this new industry. After the quakes, Cuadrilla’s CEO warned that making fracking commercially viable would be extremely challenging under the existing seismic monitoring system in the UK. He wanted the government to reconsider its position on seismic monitoring within weeks.
Weeks passed by, the activity at the site was subdued for a month and no further seismic events were recorded until December 10 2018. Cuadrilla did not publicly confirm it had suspended hydraulic fracturing between early November and December. But it did say it was planning to engage with the regulators to change the upper limit on seismic monitoring.
Continue reading Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors – Anna Szolucha
Letter To the Editor:- “Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos”
“HOW dare Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos demand a change to the regulations they helped to develop and boasted about to gain planning permissions? In 2011 Cuadrilla operated free from proper controls and look what happened. They were forced to halt following the public outcry about the tremors they created because it was obvious they could not be trusted. The “safeguards” are thin enough (and constantly eroded by Cuadrilla once planning permission was granted at Preston New Road near Blackpool in 2018). To allow the companies to call time on the Traffic Light System which monitors the impact of fracking after a matter of weeks would be wholly irresponsible. Fylde residents and others around the country know that the claims the companies made about what fracking would be like in reality were fake : tremors came thick and fast and the red warning light (a rare occurrence residents were told) proved not that rare at all!! They cannot meet the standards they once commended and want to see them altered. This is not just moving the goalposts, but dismantling them! Since 2014 Cuadrilla has harassed fracking opponents with allegations of fear mongering. When experience shows (again) that fracking is incompatible with England’s geology (so different to the American shale beds) and population density (so different to America and Australia) they really can’t demand a new bar to be set, preferably one a snake could wriggle over!” Rowland Taylor, Lytham St Annes.