SHALE GAS explorer Cuadrilla Resources yesterday said that it plans to start fracking at two new sites in Lancashire, to the alarm of environmental groups who say it will not solve the UK’s energy problems.
The company, which has British Gas-owner Centrica as a stakeholder, said that it plans to apply for permission to hydraulically fracture – or frack – for shale gas from up to four wells on the two sites. Critics claim that the fracking technique causes earth tremors.
Local communities could receive up to £400,000 per site, if four wells are fracked. The government is hoping that a US-style shale gas boom will improve Britain’s energy security, bring down reliance on exports and boost the economy, although business secretary Vince Cable warned earlier this week that shale gas would only play a small role in UK energy policy this decade.
“We have decided to focus on just two sites at this time,” said Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan. “This will allow us to reduce the potential impact on the local area... while still gathering the information we need to determine how much gas could be recovered.”
“Fracking isn’t the answer to our energy problems,” said Helen Rimmer, campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Experts say it will do little to tackle climate change – and even Cuadrilla has said it won’t cut energy bills.”