Cuadrilla has confirmed that it stopped fracking again today at its Preston New Road site following an earth tremor measuring 0.9ML (local magnitude).
The tremor, at 1.41pm, was classed as a red event under the regulations because it measured more than 0.5ML and happened during a fracking stage. The regulations require Cuadrilla to pause fracking for 18 hours and check the well integrity.
Today’s red-level event is the third so far since fracking operations began at the site near Blackpool two months ago. DrillOrDrop Tremor Tracker
There have also been four trailing events, where the level was 0.5ML or above but a fracking stage was not underway.
The trailing events included the largest tremor so far, measuring 1.5ML. This happened three days ago (11 December 2018) and was felt by people living and working near the site. There was also a 1.1ML trailing event on 29 October 2018, which was also felt.
The total number of seismic events now stands at 57, including 21 this week.
Today’s 0.9ML event followed seven much smaller tremors in the preceding 45 minutes. A 0.1ML event followed 10 minutes later. This and another 0.1ML tremor today could be classed as amber events under the regulations if they happened during a fracking stage.
A statement from Cuadrilla said:
“A series of micro seismic events in Blackpool have been recorded on the British Geological Survey (BGS) website today, 14 December. The largest recorded was 0.9ML (local magnitude) at about 2pm. This occurred whilst we were hydraulically fracturing at the Preston New Road exploration site.
“Detected by Cuadrilla’s sophisticated monitoring system, and verified by the BGS, it will be classed as a ‘red’ event under the traffic light system operated by the Oil and Gas Authority.
“Cuadrilla has paused and will continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least 18 hours after the event was recorded, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified.”
Yesterday, the Labour group on Lancashire County Council called for a halt to fracking at Preston New Road so that an independent inquiry could be carried out.
A full meeting of the council chose not to vote on the motion, but instead approved an amendment from a member of the ruling Conservative group which expressed appreciation for monitoring by the regulators.
Local opponents of fracking accused the Conservatives of being “fool-hardy”, “disingenuous” and “extremely short-sighted” in failing to vote on the motion for an inquiry.