No review of fracking tremor rules – minister

PNR 181026 Ros Wills

Fence artwork outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 26 October 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

The government appears to be standing firm against industry pressure for a review of the regulations on earth tremors caused by fracking.

A junior energy minister, Kelly Tolhurst, said this week the rules, known as the traffic light system, were working as intended and she repeated there were no plans for a review.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, repeated his call today for a review of the rules, which require operations to stop if fracking causes tremors measuring 0.5 or above on the local magnitude scale.

Mr Egan said:

“We urge the Government to support our request for a review of the regulations and assist the onshore shale gas industry in becoming commercially viable and assisting the country in achieving our ambitious climate change aims.”

But Ms Tolhurst, in parliamentary answers to two backbench MPs, maintained the government’s position on a review (links here and here). She said:

“The Traffic Light System for monitoring induced seismicity was introduced after consideration of advice from three scientists, following operations at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site in 2011.

“The level of magnitude 0.5 at which operators must pause operations, was set in consultation with industry as an appropriate precutionary measure.

“These regulations have been working as intended and there are no plans to review the traffic light system.

Both Cuadrilla and Ineos have argued that the current rules are unworkable. The government’s refusal to carry out a review was a key reason behind the resignation of the shale gas commissioner, Natascha Engel, last weekend.

Campaign and community groups in shale gas areas have strongly opposed any relaxation of the traffic light system.

24 replies »

  1. DYOR Passerpartout. You antis have pushed the Swansea lagoon, you should know something about it. You like to propose how educated the anti children are, well you had better try and keep up with them then.

  2. Oh, just to be kind, you could start with St. Keverne and go from there. I am sure it will take you through lagoons and local public opinion if you burn the midnight oil (oops!) Don’t forget to check the marine conservation area at the same time. You will find it all very seismic.

  3. You are correct Passepartout. Still no evidence of someone bothering to research a subject even when given a reference to follow. Seems to be a pattern here. Red diesel, Barclays Bank/Barclays Brothers, etc., etc. Quite revealing. I thought the three monkeys were mythical.

    The children at Farsley Farfield Primary School have just learned the same lesson! I think Dominic (11) is a little more clear minded than some would expect him to be, when he says ” We learned that you can’t trust everything you read online because some people lie”. Not all going to accept being weaponised. Good for Dominic.

      • Looks as if you are following some of my advice then Passepartout! Sleep is a wonderful way to renew your interest in the wider world. I’m sure now with your extra energy you will have knuckled down and done some research regarding St. Keverne.

  4. New studies published in highly respected journal Science found “Most earthquakes induced by fracking are too small — 3.0 on the Richter scale — to be a safety or damage concern. However, the practice of deep injection of the waste products from these explorations can affect deeper and larger faults that are under stress and susceptible to fluid induced slippage”
    Compare to deep large volume injection of geothermal well in Cornwall and waste liquid.
    Clearly double standard and ignorance of evidence based facts by government ministers to pander to scaremongering shouty activists.


    • So the actual study is…
      ‘Using data from field experiments and modeling of ground faults, researchers at Tufts University have discovered that the practice of subsurface fluid injection used in ‘fracking’ and wastewater disposal for oil and gas exploration could cause significant, rapidly spreading earthquake activity beyond the fluid diffusion zone. Deep fluid injections — greater than one kilometer deep — are known to be associated with enhanced seismic activity–often thought to be limited to the areas of fluid diffusion. Yet the study, published today in the journal Science, tests and strongly supports the hypothesis that fluid injections are causing potentially damaging earthquakes further afield by the slow slip of pre-existing fault fracture networks, in domino-like fashion’…

      and this’Most earthquakes induced by fracking are too small — 3.0 on the Richter scale’ was a comment…

      Got to say, have never heard of Tuft before?

      • Have you heard of the journal Science??
        You don’t get to publish in this kind of journal of high impact factor unless your research are high quality and rigorously peer-reviewed.

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