Cuadrilla wins permit to frack in Plumpton

THE Environment Agency has given the green light to fracking firm Cuadrilla for its proposed shale gas exploration site at Plumpton in Lancashire.

In a move set to be greeted with dismay by opponents of shale gas extraction, the agency said that in reaching its decision it had spent six months carrying out a “rigourous assessment” of the plans to explore the site at Preston New Road. This  included two periods of extensive public consultation.

It has set a number of conditions that Cuadrilla must follow to protect groundwater, surface water and air quality and to ensure the safe storage, management and disposal of waste.

Steve Molyneux, environment manager for Lancashire, said: “After completing a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and the public consultation responses, we are confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected. The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely, and protect local water resources.

 “We value the feedback received during the public consultation and will continue to work with the local community. Should Cuadrilla begin exploration, we will ensure the permit conditions are enforced.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla CEO, said: “This is an important seal of approval from the regulator that the exploration of shale gas can be done responsibly.

“This follows a robust and rigorous review of our permit applications,  and unequivocally demonstrates that, as we have committed, the local environment will be well protected throughout our proposed exploratory operations.”