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Cuadrilla, Permits and the EA

Today the Environment Agency finally granted Cuadrilla their environmental permit which was need to allow them to extract shale gas at their proposed site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

The Environment Agency had made it clear last November that they were minded to grant Cuadrilla the environmental permits needed to carry out their operations so this news comes as no surprise.

In the Environment Agency’s Press Release we read that:

Steve Molyneux, Environment Manager for Lancashire, said:
“After completing a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and the public consultation responses, we are confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected. The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely, and protect local water resources. We value the feedback received during the public consultation and will continue to work with the local community. Should Cuadrilla begin exploration, we will ensure the permit conditions are enforced.”

We have serious concerns about Mr Molyneux’s ability to ensure that the lengthy permit conditions are in fact enforced. The EA’s ability to do so is highly questionable given the recent decimation of staff as a result of the 15% budget cuts at the environment agency in 2013.

As a result it is likely that we will have to rely on Cuadrilla complying with these regulations voluntarily – effectively marking their own homework – at a time when the financial pressure on the shale gas companies is increasing with every downward lurch of the price of oil.

Defend Lytham are worried that financial pressure may lead to corners being cut (as happened in the Gulf of Mexico disaster).

Cuadrilla’s previous track record on complying with regulations at Banks near Southport and in Balcombe does not inspire much confidence.

Waste Water Disposal

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/business/local-business/safety-claims-made-over-fracking-waste-1-5799013

Waste water produced by shale gas drilling can be managed safely and the environment can be protected, environmental chiefs believe.

The Environment Agency says it will take a final decision on whether to grant waste permits to fracking firm Cuadrilla once it has reviewed the company’s application and the Environmental Statements it will prepare for Lancashire County Council as part of its planning applications for shale gas exploration, expected to be this summer.

But in a statement issued last night, the EA said its “assessment to date leads us to believe Cuadrilla can effectively manage waste during their operations while protecting the environment.”

The permits will allow Cuadrilla to manage waste produced by the fracking process and are needed to allow shale gas drilling to go ahead.

Campaigners and residents opposed to shale gas drilling are fearful about the potential environmental impact of waste water.

Mike Hill, engineer and member of campaign group Defend Lytham, said: “They’re (the EA) completely jumping the gun. There’s nowhere near enough information.

“We don’t know who’s treating the water, where they’re treating it or how so how can we raise sensible questions or comments on it.

“The Environment Agency has not issued guidelines to local offices in relation to how to regulate fracking, without those they can’t issue permits because their own offices can’t regulate the industry.”

However, Keith Ashcroft, area manager for the EA, said: “We have been working closely with the local authorities and other regulators and have listened to concerns raised during the consultation so far.

“We appreciate people are looking to us all to provide confidence that local communities and the environment will be protected during exploration for shale gas.

“Our assessment to date leads us to believe that Cuadrilla can effectively manage waste during their operations while protecting the environment.”

No other information was revealed as to what had brought the EA to release its statement.

Frack Free Lancashire

Fracking In the UK

Fracking The UK

If you want to learn about fracking this book comes highly recommended!

"Untrustworthy, unbalanced and potentially brain washing." - Amazon Review - Yes the industry hates this book that much :-)