Call for fracking ban after 2.1ML tremor shakes buildings around Cuadrilla shale gas site

pnr 190823 Maxine Gill 10

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site, 23 August 2019. Photo: Maxine Gill

People living around Cuadrilla’s shale gas site reported shaking buildings and windows last night from a 2.1ML tremor.

This is the strongest seismic event so far induced by fracking at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool. It brings to more than 90 the number of tremors since fracking resumed at the site less than a fortnight ago.

Within minutes of the tremor, there were reports that people had felt it from surroundings towns and villages including Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Peel, Kirkham, Wrea Green, Great Plumpton and Lytham St Annes.

Angry local opponents of the industry called for an immediate moratorium before “serious injury or damage is done”.

The British Geological Survey gave the tremor a score of 3 points on the EMS Intensities scale (where 1 is lowest and 12 highest).

There was no fracking yesterday and DrillOrDrop understands the last fracture at Preston New Road was on Friday (23 August 2019).

190824 major tremors pnr

Largest earth tremors induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site since 15 August 2019. Map: DrillOrDrop using BGS data

Cuadrilla issued a statement at 12.49am this morning, which said the tremor was detected at 11.01pm and measured 2.23ML.

A spokesperson said the tremor lasted about 1 second and resulted in ground motion of less than 1.5mm/second. This measures what people feel at the surface and was more than three times higher than the largest previous ground movement recorded at Preston New Road.

An updated company statement at 2.04am reduced the magnitude to 2.1ML. Fracking was not happening at the time, the statement said.

A company spokesperson said well integrity had been unaffected and all the relevant regulators had been informed. The spokesperson added:

“Minor ground movements of this level are to be expected.  Whilst this event has been felt by people on our site and some local households, it is well below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.”

Shortly after the tremor, a spokesperson for Preston New Road Action Group told DrillOrDrop.

“This tremor feels like it has been the biggest yet with reports coming in from Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Kirkham and Wrea Green within minutes of it occurring. Several reports of windows and building shaking.

“This terrifying experience is being imposed on our community by an unnecessary and unwanted industry.

“The Government should see sense and re-impose the fracking moratorium immediately before any serious injury or damage is done. Enough is enough.”

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“We are livid that we are once again, being put in harm’s way for an experiment that we didn’t ask to be part of.

“Why are our communities being forced to accept this dangerous and contemptuous industry, when it is clear that they have zero control over the impacts that fracking brings with it?

“There was no fracking today, and yet, the after-effect it has caused, is a sizeable earthquake with widespread reports of property damage. We are angry and demand an urgent reconsideration of a fracking moratorium.”

Under Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing plan, tremors measuring 0.5ML or more that happen after fracking operations are considered to be trailing events. The company must pause fracking for 18 hours and check well integrity.

Last night’s 2.1ML was almost as strong as the biggest tremor induced by Cuadrilla’s fracking operations. On 1 April 2011, the company caused a 2.3ML during its frack at Preese Hall, also in Lancashire.

190825 pnr bubble chart Refracktion

Relative size of tremors induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas since since 15 August 2019. Chart: Refracktion

The largest tremors induced by fracking at Preston New Road since 15 August have all been in the last four days.

All the tremors measuring 0.5ML or above were at latitudes 53.787 or 53.788. Three were reported as felt.

21 August 2019: 1.6 and 0.9
22 August 2019:  1.0
23 August 2019: 1.1
24 August 2019: 0.5 and 2.1

For more details see DrillOrDrop PNR tremor tracker 2019

Update: damage

At 9.42am, Cuadrilla said it had received just one report of damage. The company said it had written to people living near the site on how to get in touch.

Frack Free Lancashire said it knew of many people whose property had been damaged.

Updated 28 August 2019 to reference the EMS Intensities scale




87 replies »

  1. Presumably Cuadrilla will be all set to resume tracking on Tuesday, provided there are no more ‘trailing events’ greater than 0.5.

    Did they did really frack on Friday after a 1.0 event on Thursday afternoon?

    After all, pesumably the hydraulic fracture plan permits anything up to 3.1 to be tolerated before it’s an extraordinary event.

    • Hey Richard,

      I don’t think Cuadrilla will be fracking again on Tuesday after what they’ve just caused all over the Fylde!

      In fact Richard I don’t think they’ll ever be fracking anywhere ever again!

  2. [Francis] Egan also said he’d be happy to live on the PNR fracking site!

    Not seen hide nor hair if him since! [Edited by moderator]

    • There has been no issue for people living close to the frack site, no poisoned water, no benzene in the air, no silica to cause lung disease, no earth quakes to cause structural damage, why would he not say he could live there?

  3. “it is well below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.” So, sorry, but we’re working on getting the seismic events really impressively high. It clearly doesn’t matter to this intellectually challenged government how high we go, so we’ll keep trying.

  4. Just you keep on calling for that ‘ban’ as it’s not forthcoming any decade soon. Corbyn is about to get the boot and any other subsequent Labour leader that uses a cotton candy leftist ideology in their dialogue will face the same demise. Even with the centre right in complete disarray they couldn’t muster any formidable challenge. I pity our small vocal green movement. Wait until the recession starts to bite properly, biz biz biz coming to a site near you.

    • GottaBKidding

      Don’t like the way you think a warmongering, socially and environmentally negligent Government is something you’d enjoy living under!

      Obviously you’ve no children”s futures treasure.

      I feel almost sorry for you.

      • Note the difference between Cuadrilla’s commissioned report on Preese Hall which recommends,

        ‘A conservative estimate of the minimum size of earthquake that could cause damage is 2.6 ML, based on German standards. This should be the maximum allowable limit for seismic activity’

        And The BGS report which examines the Cuadrilla commissioned report and then makes the following recommendations,

        ‘Nevertheless, we consider that the maximum magnitude threshold of 1.7 ML, initially proposed for the traffic light system, is undesirably high from the viewpoint of prudent conduct of future operations’

  5. I live in Warton, did anyone else feel a tremor about 40 minutes ago? It felt like something had hit my bedroom wall and my bed shook.

  6. Don’t seem to be able to get on BGS Induced seismicity website, any clues anyone? Not due to a massive loud noise and vibration at 8.30 is it?

  7. Just been another big one at 8,30am on August Bank Holiday Monday. Lots of chat from all over the Fylde and Preston on social media. Wonder how big this time and also how Caudrilla and the profrack apologists will try to down play this one by comparing it to some unrelated rediculous everyday occurance.

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