1. ITV Report

Cuadrilla halts fracking after earthquake detected - biggest so far

Credit: PA

Fracking at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire has been suspended temporarily after a 1.55 magnitude quake was detected last night.

The minor earthquake, which is the biggest one recorded at the site yet, comes just a week after the process was resumed again following months of suspension because of a spate of seismic events.

Most people who live near the site would not have sensed last night's movement, which the company say would have felt similar to someone dropping a large bag of shopping on the floor.

  • What is fracking?

Fracking involves drilling into the ground and pumping in water and chemicals to release gas. At the moment, it must be halted if tremors measuring 0.5ML on the Richter scale are detected - a threshold the company calls "uniquely low".

More than a thousand people took part in a protest march against fracking in Lancashire after tremors at the Preston New Road site. Credit: PA

In a statement following last night's seismic activity, a spokesperson said:

We can confirm that a micro seismic event measuring 1.55ML (local magnitude) on the Richter scale occurred after we had completed the hydraulic fracturing programme for the day at our Preston New Road site. Most local people will not have felt it due to its small size. The equivalent ground motion would be similar to a large bag of shopping dropping to the floor. Well integrity has been verified and we will now pause operations and continue monitoring for the next 18 hours.

“The Preston New Road exploration site is the most regulated and monitored site in Europe and the systems in place are working as they should. 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. All the relevant regulators were informed and we have verified that the well integrity is intact”

– Cuadrilla spokesperson

Cuadrilla recently announced it's pumped 16- million pounds directly into the Lancashire economy, through employing local people directly and working with local businesses and organisations.