Monday 29 October 2018 1:33 pm

Cuadrilla pauses Lancashire fracking after third seismic tremor in three days

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Cuadrilla has halted fracking at its controversial Lancashire site for 18 hours after recording a red warning level micro-seismic tremor this morning.

The drilling giant classed the 1.1 local magnitude (ML) event as a “red” incident based on the Oil and Gas Authority’s traffic light warning system.

However, the company claimed that “this level is way below anything that can be felt at surface and a very long way from anything that would cause damage or harm”.

Today's tremor is the fifth in six days at the Preston New Road site, and the largest so far.

A 08.ML tremor on Saturday also saw an 18-hour pause on work, while a 0.76ML tremor stopped work again on Friday, following smaller events on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cuadrilla only restarted hydraulic fracturing operations to extract gas from rocks at the site last week following a seven-year gap after the drilling was linked to two earthquakes.

"This is the latest micro seismic event to be detected by the organisation’s highly sophisticated monitoring systems and verified by the British Geological Survey (BGS)," the company said in a statement today.

"In line with regulations, hydraulic fracturing has paused for 18 hours now, during which seismicity will continue to be closely monitored by ourselves and the relevant regulators. Well integrity has been checked and verified."

Protesters against the fracking failed to stop the resumption of operations with a last-minute legal intervention, meaning work at the site started up again on 15 October.

Cuadrilla expects the work to last for three months before it tests the gas it has collected.