Opponents of fracking have used the first anniversary of the moratorium on fracking in England to call for the shale gas industry to give up.
Campaign groups were responding to news that industry proposals were “insufficient” to lift the moratorium imposed by the government after fracking by Cuadrilla caused earthquakes in Lancashire.
The regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, told DrillOrDrop that research proposed so far by the industry would not “satisfy us that associated hydraulic fracturing could take place consistent with the government’s policy aims”.
The industry organisation, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said its members would take a “science-led approach” to lift the moratorium. It also said cases of earthquakes caused by fracking were rare when compared with the total number of stimulated wells.
“100% record of unacceptable seismic activity”
Frack Free Lancashire said its position on fracking had not changed and it would “continue to maintain a watchful eye on the industry’s weary rhetoric”:
“We note that the oil and gas industry have provided a feeble attempt to distract attention by suggesting that: ‘cases of induced seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing are rare’.
“We would point out that the industry has a 100% record of provoking an unacceptable level of seismic activity whenever they have tried onshore high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
“As they appear totally unable to provide a scientific basis for their requests to be permitted to carry on, we believe that it is high time they removed themselves and the threat of fracking from local communities.
“The fracking debate has moved on: we suggest the industry do too.”
“Science to support fracking does not stack up”
A spokesperson for Preston New Road Action Group, representing people living near Cuadrilla’s Lancashire site, said:
“It is good that the industry are unable to produce sufficient evidence to allow the current moratorium to be lifted. Clearly the science to support fracking just does not stack up, which is what we have been arguing for over 6 years now.
“However, at Preston New Road whilst the flare stacks and well pad remain in place, local residents will remain cautious, we will only feel comfortable once the site has been restored to its former green field state”.
“Time for shale companies to hand back licences”
David Burley, of Frack Free South Yorkshire, said:
“We know that high volume hydraulic fracturing induces earthquakes, creates fugitive emissions of greenhouse gases, brings radioactive materials to the surface and industrialises our natural environment. All for a fossil fuel that we need to get rid of as quick as possible to achieve our net zero target. It cannot be done safely.
“It is time for companies to hand back to government all licences that target shale rock formations, and for government to impose a permanent ban on all forms of fracking.
“We need to create a million climate jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy storage.”
“No social licence”
Frack Free Ryedale said:
“FFR have seen lots of statements from the industry and its supporters over several years about the scientific evidence being followed and seeking to reassure local communities that their operations are ‘safe’. The ‘industry’ have no social license to carry out their operations. Yet we continue to see the industry plough on regardless. The regulators have (wrongly in our opinion) accepted that operations will be safe based on submissions from the industry. Yet despite all this, unexpected seismic events continue to occur, regulations are broken, and communities continue to be disrupted.
“The world has moved on and accepts climate change is real. It is time the industry stopped promoting yesterday’s energy mantra. They need to come up with truly sustainable ways to contribute to combating climate change rather than carrying on as though it (climate change) doesn’t exist”.
“UK fracking is unviable”
Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, said:
“It’s no surprise the industry is trying to work its way around the moratorium, but, as was pointed out in various reports including our own submission to the National Audit office, fracking in the UK is unviable for a number of reasons and not just the virtually impossible earthquake predictions.
“The past year has shown that we must think ahead for the future of the next generation and not dwell on shattering the earth to dig up dinosaurs.
“Communities are moving on but we are not going to be complacent as this serves as a warning to us and all the politicians in areas impacted by fracking, you cannot sit back and relax and hope these companies will just go away, they won’t. There are too many vested interests involved.”