Greens call for refusal of frack licence change

Preston New Road frack site
Preston New Road frack site

Anti-fracking campaigners have appealed to the Environment Agency not to allow drilling firm Cuadrilla to vary its licence for its Fylde site.

Friends of the Earth is urging the Environment Agency to refuse changes to a permit which it said would intensify fracking operations at Preston New Road.

It said Cuadrilla was seeking to intensify hydraulic fracturing at the site with potentially multiple fracking stages per day, compared to one under the current permit.

It said it had concerns about the real amount of fluid that returns to the surface after high volume hydraulic fracturing.

It said Cuadrilla’s own figures suggest that 1,200 tanker movements will be needed to take away waste fluid for treatment, but if Cuadrilla was unable to reuse the flowback fluid, as a recent Cuadrilla spokesman has suggested, the figure could double.

Helen Rimmer from Friends of the Earth said: “This could lead to more fracking, and more lorry loads of potentially radioactive waste on Lancashire’s roads.”

But Cuadrilla said the environmentalists were scaremongering and that the firm was now awaiting the EA decision on a series of slight changes including seismic and ground water monitoring plus fluid handling.

A spokesman said: “Over the years we’ve heard just about every permutation of scare story from Friends of the Earth, and this is unfortunately from the same playbook.

“The facts are that the quantity of flowback fluid that can be stored and managed on site safely and responsibly has not changed.

In addition, the associated management practices controlling flowback fluid remain consistent with what was originally proposed.”