Tremor halts fracking at UK's only active site

Fracking has been stopped at the UK’s only shale gas exploration site after a tremor, according to an energy firm.

Operations were paused for 18 hours from Wednesday evening while Cuadrilla monitored the site near Blackpool after a “micro seismic event” with a magnitude of 1.55.

The company confirmed that the tremor is the largest they have ever recorded at the facility.

Most people who live near the site would not have felt the movement, which would have felt similar to someone dropping a large bag of shopping on the floor, according to their spokesman.

“Minor movements of this level are to be expected and are way below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property,” he added.

The “integrity” of the Preston New Road site has been confirmed by regulators, he said.

The tremor was detected at 8.46pm on Wednesday, which was after the company had finished its fracking operations for the day.

In response to the latest tremor, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey renewed calls for fracking to be banned.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth claimed that in 60 days of fracking last year there were 57 tremors in Lancashire.

It is “obvious” that fracking cannot be carried out without triggering earthquakes, according to Jamie Peters, a campaigner for the organisation.

He added: “Even small vibrations at ground level can be the sign of far more damaging impacts deep underground.”

The Government has argued that the extraction of shale gas through fracking could support the UK’s transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The movement was stronger than a 1.5-magnitude tremor which halted work at the shale site in December.

Both of these are considered red events under the traffic light system for monitoring seismic events during fracking, and pausing work for 18 hours is the routine response for any tremor over 0.5.

A number of tremors have been detected at the site since the controversial fracking operation began in October last year.

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