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  1. ITV Report

Largest tremor yet detected at Lancashire fracking site

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Lucy Watson

A tremor measuring 2.9 has been felt near the UK's only active fracking site, less than two days after a previously record-breaking tremor at the facility.

The British Geological Survey reported a large tremor related to fracking activity hit near Blackpool at 8.30am on Monday.

It comes only two days after a 2.1-scale "micro seismic event" was detected at the Cuadrilla energy site late on Saturday evening, previously the largest tremor ever recorded at the site.

That event lead to operations being suspended at the site, and they had not resumed by the time of Monday's tremor, which had a depth of two kilometres and was strong enough to be felt by some residents.

According to the British Geological Survey, this is the third tremor at the Preston New Road site in a week after a 1.55-magnitude tremor was recorded last Wednesday.

Routine policy states hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is paused for 18 hours following any tremors larger than 0.5 on the scale.

However all work on the site had been suspended following Saturday's tremor to allow for an investigation by the Oil and Gas Authority.

The Oil and Gas Authority said fracking will remain suspended until they have investigated the recent seismic event.

Operations will remain suspended while the OGA gathers data from this and other recent seismic events and then considers carefully whether or not the hydraulic fracturing operations, mitigations and assumptions set out in the operator's Hydraulic Fracture Plan continue to be appropriate to manage the risk of induced seismicity at the Preston New Road site."

– Oil and Gas Authority

In a statement, Cuadrilla said it was investigating the event which occurred when no hydraulic fracturing was being carried out.

Cuadrilla is aware of a seismic event which occurred at about 8.30am this morning in the area of our exploration site in Preston New Road, near Blackpool.

"We can confirm that no hydraulic fracturing was being carried out at the time and no hydraulic fracturing has been carried out over the weekend. We are investigating the event alongside the regulators who monitor Preston New Road."

– Cuadrilla

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth has called for a complete fracking ban after the three recent tremors.

Spokesman Jamie Peters said: "This issue of earthquakes in connection to unwanted fracking has always been serious but now it is getting out of hand.

"It's clearly not under control and at this point there is only one thing that can fix this situation: a ban, right now."

Residents living in the surrounding areas took to social media following the quake to describe their experiences. In one Tweet, Becky Lee Wood described the ''ground shaking.''

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Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South said:

The set of tremors that have been felt across Blackpool and the Fylde & again this morning after Cuadrilla have resumed their fracking operation are extremely alarming.

I shall be writing to Boris Johnson's Environment Secretary to demand an urgent investigation into these latest tremors and to order a further halt to the operations by Cuadrilla locally right now.

It is Government Ministers that have aided and abetted these operations in Lancashire , ignored local democracy and planning , allowing Cuadrilla to play Russian roulette with local people's lives and property as well as the roads , environment and reputation of Blackpool and the Fylde.

– Gordon Marsden MP

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, said:

It is now clear that hydraulic fracturing is not suitable for Fylde or the people of Fylde and I will be writing to Ministers and the Oil and Gas Authority to call for full cessation of the shale gas industry operating on the Fylde Coast.

– Mark Menzies MP

Labour shadow ministers have written to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, calling on the government to “immediately ban fracking".

The letter, signed by Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP and Shadow Minister for Climate Justice and Green Jobs Danielle Rowley MP, says: "we are calling on you to immediately ban fracking, and the Labour Party will work with the Government to swiftly introduce legislation to that effect".

Cuadrilla began fracking at the Preston New Road site last year, but work has been interrupted by tremors from the site.