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Cuadrilla confirms the first shale gas has been produced at Little Plumpton

Photo: Cuadrilla

The energy firm Cuadrilla says it has produced the first shale gas from its fracking site in Lancashire.

Fracking began at the site in Little Plumpton near Blackpool last month, though the process had to be halted on several occasions because of minor earth tremors.

Cuadrilla described the news as significant and says it's indicative of the 'potential of the shale'.

“This Preston New Road site is being monitored to an unprecedented level.

"This initial gas flow is by no means the end of the story.

"However it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.

"This week, three huge tankers carrying liquefied natural gas from across the world, including shale gas imported from the US, will dock in the UK to safeguard our winter gas supplies.

"If we are able to fully test these wells, without compromising on safety, we have the potential to make a major difference to UK energy supply, security and economic prosperity.”

– Francis Egan
Credit: Granada Reports

The news comes amid calls from seven Lancashire Labour MPs for the Government to halt fracking immediately. They have written to the Energy Secretary Greg Clark, asking him to take their cause to the Government.

Their concern follows recent earthquakes in Lancashire, including a 1.1 magnitude tremor on Monday. It is reported that over 30 earthquakes have been recorded since fracking began at the Preston New Road site near Little Plumpton two weeks ago.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is among those calling for an end to fracking. Speaking in Parliament, she said:

As a Lancashire MP I was horrified by the Government’s decision to overturn Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission for fracking.

"It flies in the face of the Government’s pretend localism agenda, and current attempts to meddle with the process do not pass the sniff test. My constituents oppose it."

– Rosie Cooper MP

Ms Cooper has now written the open letter to the Energy Secretary, co-signed by Lancashire Labour MPs including Julie Cooper (Burnley), Sir Mark Hendrick (Preston), Kate Hollern (Blackburn), Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South), Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) and the Shadow Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

In response to reports that Cuadrilla has detected small gas flows at their Preston New Road fracking site, John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK said:

It’s now over seven years since the first UK well was fracked. After all the many millions invested, the changes in the law, the removal of local democracy and property rights and weeks of earth tremors, the industry has produced a deep hole in a muddy field with a small amount of very expensive gas at the bottom. Over the same period, onshore wind became the cheapest source of power in the UK. The government responded by effectively banning it. It is truly bewildering how little fossil fuel companies need to offer in order to get whole-hearted, full-throated government support, and how much clean technologies can offer and still be blocked.”

– John Sauven