1.55 magnitude tremor halts fracking at Lancashire site

Fracking has been halted again at Preston New Road

Fracking has been halted again at Preston New Road

The process of fracturing rocks with a high pressure mixture of water and chemicals to extract shale gas has always been seen by the United Kingdom government as an important potential energy source.

Public objection to Cuadrilla's fracking at the Preston New Road site fell on deaf ears as the company resumed drilling last week, in a move described as "shocking" by campaigners concerned about repeated seismic activity at the site.

"The equivalent ground motion would be similar to a large bag of shopping dropping to the floor", Cuadrilla said, adding that it was pausing operations and would monitor the situation for the next 18 hours.

The company added the "integrity" of the Preston New Road site has been confirmed by regulators.

Cuadrilla has been forced to once again stop its fracking operations in Lancashire after the largest seismic tremor to date was logged at the site yesterday evening.

Cuadrilla said "minor movements of this level" were to be expected and could not "cause harm or damage to anyone of their property".

Both of these are considered red events under the traffic light system for monitoring seismic events during fracking, and pausing work for 18 hours is the routine response for any tremor over 0.5.

Fracking has been halted at the Preston New Road site in Blackpool after the largest quake yet was detected.

The company had to repeatedly stop operations a year ago as, under United Kingdom regulation, any seismic activity detected over 0.5 magnitude immediately suspends work.

Fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing, involves pumping vast quantities of water and chemicals into unstable rock to release combustible gas.

The government last week signalled support for the industry and is keen to cut the country's reliance on imports of natural gas, which is used to heat around 80% of Britain's homes.

However opponents claim fracking can create earthquakes and continues the UK's dependence on fossil fuels instead of focusing on renewables to tackle man-made climate change.

This is five times less than 2013 estimates, according to analysis of Bowland Shale Formation in north England. Another tremor was recorded at 1.0ML at 10.42pm.

A study released earlier this week suggested the United Kingdom may have far less shale gas than previously thought, with scientists warning reserves could run out within five to 10 years.