Plumpton fracking: Cuadrilla granted environmental permits

The Environment Agency, England’s environmental regulator, has granted Cuadrilla Resources the environmental permits it needs for its planned fracking site at Little Plumpton in Lancashire.


Cuadrilla’s CEO, Francis Egan, described the move as “an important seal of approval from the regulator that the exploration of shale gas can be done responsibly”

The environmental permits cover flaring, the management of extractive waste – including flowback wastewater containing low concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive material – and groundwater activities.

The granting of the permits follows 6 months of determination by the Environment Agency, during which it conducted two rounds of public consultation.

The Environment Agency’s environment manager for Lancashire, Steve Molyneux, said it was “confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected”.

“The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely, and protect local water resources.”

The news comes just a day after it was announced that, in an industry first, the British Geological Survey (BGS) will conduct independent environmental monitoring of fracking operations, with the results published and made available to interested members of the public.

Together with the statutory monitoring required by its environmental permits, the additional BGS monitoring will now mean that Cuadrilla’s operations will be subject to an unprecedented level of scrutiny.

Cuadrilla yet needs to obtain planning permission for the Little Plumpton site and another at Roseacre Wood.

Francis Egan said: “We are delighted that the Environment Agency has granted our permits for our proposed exploration site at Preston New Road. This is an important seal of approval from the regulator that the exploration of shale gas can be done responsibly. This follows a robust and rigorous review of our permit applications, and unequivocally demonstrates that, as we have committed, the local environment will be well protected throughout our proposed exploratory operations.”