Union calls for immediate halt to fracking after earthquakes

After a series of serious tremors, including an earthquake measuring 1.0 on the richter scale, Unite the union has today demanded fracking cease immediatly at the Quadrilla site.

After a series of 19 tremors at a fracking site in Lancashire, Unite said operations should be halted until an investigation takes place as to why the company is routinely causing quakes above the 0.5 level allowed under Quadrilla's contact.

The concerns come as the government considers its to a consultation on fracking, which could see local councillors being excluded from deciding whether fracking can go ahead in their local area.

Meanwhile, the Tory energy minister Clare Perry MP has suggested that as the industry ‘matures’ the requirement to stop drilling when significant tremors occur, could be relaxed.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The continued tremors being caused by fracking in Lancashire must be terrifying for people living locally."

“The government has put Quadrilla’s financial interests above the safety concerns of local residents."

“The fact that there are continual tremors underlines that fracking is not safe and it needs to be halted immediately."

“Proposals that councillors will be barred from deciding if fracking can occur in their area are a direct attack on local democracy.

“Suggestions by a Conservative minister that mini earthquakes can be ignored in future, demonstrates that the government is pandering to developers and ignoring legitimate fears and concerns.”

“Recent history demonstrates that ignoring community concerns can have tragic consequences. Elected councillors are accountable and must be allowed to do their job alongside community groups.”

A Cuadrilla spokesperson said that: "This is not an 'red' incident under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority as we were not pumping fracturing fluid as part of our hydraulic fracturing operations at the time."

"However we will, as always, continue to monitor the seismic activity closely and plan to resume hydraulic fracturing".

Meanwhile, Cuadilla's chief executive has complained to the government that the firm is not allowed to drill after causing quakes of up to 2.0 on the Richter scale.

“It certainly looks like it would be — I can’t say impossible — but I could say very difficult to make this a commercial venture if you had to continue operating within a 0.5 red line,” Francis Egan told the Financial Times.

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