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.”
“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.