Cuadrilla Pauses Lancashire Fracking After 17th Earthquake In 9 Days

Minister of State at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry arrives on Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting

Minister of State at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry arrives on Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting

"This is not a "red incident" under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority as we were not pumping fracturing fluid as part of our hydraulic fracking operations at the time".

It is the third such event in as many days at the site and operations have been paused for 18 hours in order to measure seismic levels.

The British Geological Survey recorded a 0.8 magnitude natural disaster in the region of the site at about 11.30am on Friday.

The company said: "Cuadrilla can confirm following hydraulic fracturing this morning (27 October) a micro seismic event of 0.8ML, which can't be felt at surface, was recorded through the detailed seismic monitoring Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey (BGS) are carrying out".

Fracking involves injecting liquid at very high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open fissures and release shale gas stored below.

She said all relevant regulators had been informed. Oliver Eden, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said this week: "There are no plans to make changes to the traffic light system for monitoring induced seismicity".

Cuadrilla added that anything registering between 0 and 2.0 on the Richter Scale is generally categorised as a micro seismic event, far below anything that could be felt at surface or cause damage or harm.

Activity at the Preston New Road site, which lies just a few miles from the Lancashire seaside resort, has prompted 17 earthquakes since 15th October, according to the British Geological Survey.

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Fracking can take place between 8am-6pm on Monday to Friday and between 9am-1pm on Saturday.

The controversial fracking work began 11 days ago after an environmental campaigner failed in a High Court bid to block it.

Saturday's tremor was detected at the firm's site in Little Plumpton after work ended for the day on Saturday, when operations finish at 13:00.

Lancashire fracking has stopped due to an quake below the ground.

The Guardian revealed earlier this month that the energy minister, Claire Perry, had proposed raising the regulatory threshold for tremors caused by fracking as the industry begins to mature.

A second tremor in a 24-hour period has been recorded at the UK's only active fracking site near Blackpool.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the sentences were "manifestly excessive" and replaced them with conditional discharges.

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