Preston New road fracking site to be 'plugged and abandoned' three years after earth tremors

No work has been carried out at the exploration site at Preston New road since 2019. Credit: PA images

Cuadrilla is to plug and abandon two shale gas wells in Lancashire following orders from the government's industry regulator.

No work has been carried out at the exploration site at Preston New road since 2019 when the government imposed a moratorium on fracking after the site was linked to two minor earthquakes.

It has been confirmed the wells will now be sealed up permanently, with work starting soon to plug them with cement and remove pipework and valves from the site.

Fracking protester outside energy firm Cuadrilla's site in Preston New Road, 2018. Credit: PA images

Cuadrilla claims shale gas from the North has the potential to meet the UK's energy needs for the next 50 years, alleviate the cost of living crisis, and create jobs.

The company's chief executive officer, Francis Egan, believes the decision is "ridiculous" and has not "been properly thought through".

He said: “At a time when the UK is spending billions of pounds annually importing gas from all corners of the globe, and gas prices for hard-pressed UK households are rocketing, the UK government has chosen this moment to ask us to plug and abandon the only two viable shale gas wells in Britain.”

Anti-fracking protestors outside Bloomfield Road, the home of Blackpool football club, 2016. Credit: PA images

Continuing: “What’s more ridiculous is that leaving our own shale gas in the ground will make reducing global emissions even harder. 

"Emissions from importing gas are far higher than those from home-produced shale gas.  

"I don’t think that this has been properly thought through."

Climate campaigners have opposed the site for several years after a study warned that fracking could not be done safely without the risk of triggering earth tremors.

Bob Dennet, from Frack Free Lancashire, has given the news a cautious welcome, and said "I will believe it when I see it."