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LANCASHIRE has been hit by a third record-breaking earth tremor in less than a week as anger grows over Britain’s only active fracking site.
This morning’s tremor was recorded as 2.9 on the Richter scale — topping the quake recorded near the site late on Saturday night, which registered at 2.1.
The finger of blame is pointed firmly at fracking firm Cuadrilla, which runs a gas extraction site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Since work began there more than 90 tremors have been recorded that have breached the statutory limit for such drilling, which is set at 0.5 on the scale.
Operations at the site were compulsorily suspended after Saturday’s tremor pending an investigation by the government’s Oil & Gas Authority.
Today’s tremor, at 8.31am, registered on seismic equipment as far away as Scotland and Wales. Heather Goodwin, who lives at Lytham St Anne’s, near the Cuadrilla site, said: “The walls of my house shook. There was a really deep, guttural roar. For a moment, I really thought my house was going to fall down.
“It only lasted a few seconds but I felt the need to go all round the house and check for damage.
“We’ve been afraid of this happening. How long before there’s real damage done and people injured?”
Residents and environment campaigners have maintained a protest camp near the site for more than two years. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited it last month to show solidarity.
A spokeswoman for Preston New Road Action Group said: “At 2.9, this is the largest fracking-induced earthquake to have happened in the UK.
“It is very frightening when you hear a loud bang and things in the house rattle. We should not be being subjected to this level of stress and fear.”
A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said: “We are sick of being treated as human guinea pigs.”
But Cuadrilla defended its actions in a statement on its website. “We appreciate this this has caused concern for local people and, by way of reassurance, it is worth noting that this event lasted for around a second and the average ground motion recorded was 5mm per second,” the firm claimed. “This is about a third of that permitted for construction projects.”
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