Cuadrilla has got the go-ahead to pipe rain water falling on its fracking site near Blackpool into a local brook.
The Environment Agency (EA) said today it had approved a study by the company about the effects of discharging water from the Preston New Road site into the Car Bridge Brook and Ribble Main Drain.
The EA said the study, required by the company’s environmental permit, aimed to prevent flooding.
Cuadrilla applied in December 2017 for a change to its permit conditions. Previously, the company had to send the water by tanker to an offsite treatment facility.
The EA approved the change in April 2018, allowing Cuadrilla to process the water on site before it was piped to the brook.
The decision was opposed by local campaigners. Frack Free Lancashire said Cuadrilla “appears to be able to move the regulatory goal posts at will”.
Preston New Road was photographed in 2017 and 2018 with surface water flooding. In 2017, the EA told Cuadrilla to improve its surface water management after breaching permit conditions.
Modelling by the company showed that flooding was likely to happen first upstream of a culvert under Moss House Lane, the EA said.
The regulator said Cuadrilla had established protocols to monitor the water levels in this area. It would discharge into Carr Bridge Brook only when water levels were low enough to prevent flooding.
The protocol also set a flow rate for discharging surface water from the site, the EA added.