Controversial fracking 'should resume' after earthquake

Cuadrilla's fracking site near Blackpool Credit: ITV News

A controversial gas drilling technique which was stopped after triggering earthquakes near Blackpool could be re-started.

The company involved, Cuadrilla, says it has accepted stringent recommendations from experts who say hydraulic fracturing should be allowed to continue at the Preese Hall well in Lancashire.

The report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change sets out some key changes to the way the site should operate.

  • A tremor even too small to be noticed above ground should result in an immediate shutdown

  • Remedial action would have to be carried out before work could be resumed again

  • A report calls for monitoring of the site using seismic sensors

  • Steps to ensure excess pressure cannot build up beneath ground

The word 'fracking' comes from hydraulic fracturing. It involves injecting high pressure water and chemicals into shale rock to release natural gas. Watch an explanation of the process, provided by Cuadrilla here.

On April 1 and May 27 last year, two small earthquakes were felt in the Blackpool area. No damage was caused. Credit: ITV News

Environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth, remain opposed to the process abd say that earth tremors aren't the only risks associated with it.

They claim it has also been linked to air and water pollution and produces gas that causes climate change.

The Government wants feedback from the public before making a final decision about the site.

The consultation period will last six weeks before any final decision is taken on shale gas fracking.