Drone pictures taken yesterday show surface water at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool.
Opponents of operations at the site reported that four tankers had entered the site yesterday to collect rain water and another two had gone in by lunchtime today.
A spokesperson for the Cuadrilla said:
“I can confirm there has been no flooding on the site. There was heavy rain for a several days recently which did collect in the well cellar and surrounding low area of site, however the site has been designed to drain water in the event of such an occurrence and it is working as per design.”
But opponents of the company’s operations repeated concerns today that the area was prone to flooding and unsuitable for the site.
Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) said:
“It is quite astounding that Cuadrilla have stated that the Preston New Road site is not flooded, when drone footage demonstrates the absolute opposite. And this short period of inclement weather has followed a heatwave this week.
“Cuadrilla stated that the site didn’t flood following last year’s storms: a variety of demonstrative photography proved them wrong. One of our group’s land flooded heavily, with the run-off from the PNR site.
“Cuadrilla appear to have some discrepancy with reality at their exploratory site.”
Cuadrilla has said the wellpad is underlain by an impermeable membrane, designed to prevent surface spills or contaminated rain water draining into the soil. Rain water that falls on the site is supposed to drain into perimeter ditches.
The area around the well pad, at Little Plumpton, is low lying. In January 2016, the fields flooded, along with many other areas in the Fylde. DrillOrDrop post
At the time, a Cuadrilla executive told the Blackpool Gazette that neither Preston New Road nor its other proposed site at Roseacre Wood had been flooded.
The company’s flood risk assessment, which accompanied the planning application concluded:
“Rainwater storage (attenuation) can be provided through storage within the voids off the granular fill and within the perimeter drainage ditch. During extreme events, surface flooding (to a maximum depth of 50mm) is permitted which provides additional storage capacity. The containment volume of pad has been calculated as 1,170m3 over the well pad site area of approximately 1.55ha.”
The Environmental statement, also part of the planning application, said the risk of increased surface water runoff at Preston New Road were described as “minor beneficial” or “negligible” and “not significant”
PNRAG gave evidence to Lancashire County Council on flooding in the area when the planning application was being considered. The group’s legal team addressed the issue at the public inquiry following Cuadrilla’s appeal against refusal of planning permission.
Friends of the Earth also raised concerns about the risk of flooding from the site to Carr Bridge Residential Park and Moss House Lane, which were already prone to flooding. FOE questioned how large volumes of waste water could be managed in times of heavy rain and localised flooding. Details
Updated 28/6/2017 to correct date of drone pictures from 23/6/2017 to 22/6/2017