Cuadrilla gives up Lancashire headquarters and a permit for fracking site

The fracking company, Cuadrilla, has left its headquarters in Lancashire after nearly five years and moved to serviced offices near Manchester Airport.

Residents outside Cuadrilla’s headquarters at Bamber Bridge, near Preston, 27 August 2019. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

The company has also surrendered an environmental permission for its Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool.

The moves came as Cuadrilla described itself as “largely non-operational”.

Hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road was suspended on 26 August 2019, after it caused the UK’s largest fracking-induced earthquake, measuring 2.9ML. A government moratorium on fracking in England imposed on 2 November 2019 is still in force.

A week ago, Cuadrilla’s accounts said the company had “very significantly reduced its operating costs”.

At about the same time, Cuadrilla’s companies changed their registered office address from headquarters in Bamber Bridge near Preston.

The new correspondence and the registered office address is now 3000 Aviator Way, Wythenshawe, Manchester.

This building, on a business park, contains serviced offices, meeting rooms and a video conferencing studio. More than 30 companies are listed at the address.

Cuadrilla moved to Bamber Bridge in early 2016 from its former base at Lichfield in Staffordshire. At the time, the company said this would bring direct investment in Lancashire people and suppliers. The  move was part of Cuadrilla’s “Lancashire First” strategy.

Permit surrender

Today, the Environment Agency, announced Cuadrilla had surrendered a standard rules permit for the Preston New Road site.

The permission, granted in June 2018, allowed Cuadrilla to store and handle crude oil, gas condensate and mixtures of crude oil and water.

The Environment Agency said in its letter to Cuadrilla:

“We’re satisfied that you have taken necessary measures to:

– avoid a pollution risk from the operation of the regulated facility; and

– return the site to a satisfactory state, having regard to the state of the site before the facility was put into operation.

“We therefore accept the permit surrender, which takes effect from 27/11/2020.”

The decision does not remove the mining waste and radioactive substances permits for Preston New Road and multiple permit variations issued between 2017 and 2019 .

11 replies »

  1. Cuadrilla’s new HQ not only is a strategic location near door to an International Airport, but also in a highly prospective area for oil and gas.

    Greater Manchester is crisscrossed by vintage seismic lines.. Some of course is poor, but some is excellent. Notably the rather good UKOGL freebie vintage Seismic Line by Sovereign on the main road by-past Cuadrilla’s new HQ.
    You can view it here: SOV87-X60-05 Seismic Line Viewer (

    Robin Grayson MSc FGS
    Chorlton Liberal Democrats

      • Don’t believe your comment has a connection to this particular story, Andy. It is clearly stated that Cuadrilla have complied with the requirements to release one of the permits.

        Perhaps you were confused with Sellafield?? Wonder where all the waste from the expansion of nuclear will go? Wonder why the expansion of nuclear required? Oh yes-the net zero!! Shush now, wouldn’t want to be suggesting that a redirection of energy policy could produce issues that those anti the previous policy spent their time campaigning about.

  2. Interesting, but irrelevant!

    Bit like the Lib Dems, really, as I informed a canvasser about to plonk a piece of literature through my letterbox before the last GE..

    M&S headquarters are in Baker Street, London. However, the knicker factories are many miles away. And, the same location statements can be said about most HQs. Ineos headquarters are still in London, whilst their investments, and profits, are far greater outside the UK.

    But, good that Cuadrilla maintain some investment into the NW.

    • Move away from the site and landowners, reduce outgoings whilst maintaining director’s salaries, and being near to an airport would have advantages. No surprise really.
      Well done to all the well organised communities who worked tirelessly to pummel an inexperienced start up industry who claimed otherwise.
      It would appear all those who supported the ‘industry’ were backing a losing team.

  3. I’m a little confused as to the EA stating ‘return the site to a satisfactory state, having regard to the state of the site before the facility was put into operation’. As I cycled past the other day I noticed the two well head towers from a mile or so away. Maybe ‘return’ is not the correct term? Is this a satisfactory state? Is gas building up in the well and consequently being effectively stored? Is it venting through the towers?

    • Richard, the extended well testing licence ran out in Summer 2020.
      The Oil and Gas Authority refused to disclose whether an extension gas been applied for at the time or since. Maybe a reminder is overdue?
      The two remaining flare stacks certainly shouldn’t be operational but equally no produced gaseous products or byproducts should be building up!

  4. Only one of the permits, Richard.

    Where it states “permit surrender”, if you read the red permission bit, it then details.

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