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Another record-breaking tremor at Cuadrilla fracking site near Blackpool

CALLS for a fracking ban have intensified after another tremor shook communities living near Britain’s only active site.

Lancashire residents reported being woken up to their houses shaking and books falling off shelves on Saturday night.

The quake was blamed on the gas extraction processes by fracking firm Cuadrilla at its controversial Preston New Road facility near Blackpool.

Measuring 2.1 on the Richter Scale, geologists say the tremor was the largest of 92 detected at the site so far.

It smashed the last record-breaking quake, which had been set just three days earlier when a 1.6 magnitude tremor rocked the area.

Cuadrilla downplayed and dismissed that seismic event, likening it to “dropping a bag of shopping” — it has compared earlier tremors to “dropping a melon.”

Preston New Road Action Group, which wants fracking at the site halted, slammed the latest quake.

“This tremor was the biggest yet with reports of it being felt in Blackpool, Weeton, Westby, Kirkham, St Annes and Wrea Green within minutes of it occurring,” a spokesperson said.

“There were several reports of windows and buildings shaking.

“This terrifying experience is being imposed on our community by an unnecessary and unwanted industry.”

The group called for reimposition of a seven-year ban on fracking originally imposed following an earthquake in the area nine years ago.

“Enough is enough,” the group said.

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Lancashire said: “We are livid that we are once again being put in harm’s way for an experiment that we didn’t ask to be part of.

“Why are our communities being forced to accept this dangerous and contemptuous industry, when it is clear that they have zero control over the impacts that fracking brings with it?

“There was no fracking today, and yet, the after-effect it has caused is a sizeable earthquake with widespread reports of property damage.

“We are angry and demand an urgent reconsideration of a fracking moratorium.”

A Cuadrilla spokesperson described the quake as a “micro seismic event” which “lasted for around one second.”

They added: “Minor ground movements of this level are to be expected.

“Whilst this event has been felt by people on our site and some local households, it is well below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.”

Under the rules, fracking operations have to be suspended for a minimum of 18 hours if a tremor of 0.5 or more is recorded.

Cuadrilla has responded to its own inability to prevent larger tremors by demanding that the limit be raised.

The company met with Tory energy minister Claire Perry last May “to discuss oil and gas policy” in the run-up to a roundtable with the fracking industry.

Ms Perry soon went on to tell a committee of MPs that the government wanted to relax rules on fracking.

According to environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, in 60 days of fracking last year there were 57 tremors in Lancashire.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “We don’t have to wait for yet more evidence to show that the industry can’t frack without triggering earthquakes.”


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