UK Environment Agency once again backed fracking by insisting that the controversial technology will be strictly regulated if it is implemented in the Flyde County.
Residents of Wesham took part in a discussion on Monday as part of the ongoing talks over the application of shale gas drilling permits by oil and gas firm Cuadrilla, which intends to exploit the resource in its Little Plumpton site located at Preston New Road, reported Lytham St Annes Express.
The environment regulator said that it will review how the drilling may potentially affect the environment before awarding the permits, something it expects to conclude over the subsequent four months. One significant area that will be assessed is how the water used in fracking will be treated and disposed safely.
“The industry is charged for regulation – the taxpayer does not pay for it – so it is not affected by any government cuts. “If the industry develops, it will pay more and that funds more inspectors,” said Steve Molyneux, Lancashire’s area environment manager. “If permits are issued, we would expect to be on site for the set-up, when it’s being drilled and when water flowback is happening – there would be teams turning up unannounced.”
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, involves blasting a mixture of chemicals, water and sand deep into the underground shale rocks at high pressure to release the gas trapped there.
Molyneux thinks mains water may be used in fracking, though he isn’t aware of how Cuadrilla plans to dispose the dirty water or the chemicals it intends to use in the process. He also added that the drilling sites are located outside protected water areas and won’t have any detrimental effect on drinking water.
However, some residents remained sceptical, saying it is hard to regulate fracking. Cuadrilla applied to the Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency for a go-ahead to frack its Roseacre and Little Plumpton sites. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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