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Monday, 18 March 2013 (3036424)
Fracking operations at Banks put on hold
by David Simister

THE company behind a controversial ‘fracking' site in a West Lancashire village has said it is not expecting to recommence operations there until next year.

Cuadrilla has said that while it is keen to commence shale gas drilling at its sites in Lancashire, including one near Banks, after a moratorium on the practice was lifted by the Government, it will not go ahead until Environmental Impact Assessments required by the county council are completed next year.

Francis Egan, the firm's chief executive, told national media: “We recognise that within the complex UK regulatory framework governing planning this process can prove lengthy but we are determined to spare no effort in meeting our exploration targets in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.”

Shale gas drilling was temporarily banned after it was linked to tremors in the Fylde area of Lancashire two years ago, but the Government has subsequently lifted the moratorium despite concerns from protest groups about the safety of the practice.

Friends of the Earth North West, one of the groups opposed to fracking, said: “”Cuadrilla's decision to delay fracking in Fylde is great news for local people, but other Lancashire communities are still at risk.

“The government must switch from potentially harmful shale gas to a power system based on clean British energy and slashing waste.”

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into the ground in order to fracture a level of shale beneath the surface and then extract gas trapped below. At present, Cuadrilla is the company's only shale gas operator.


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