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Fracking protesters suing Environment Agency

Fracking

Published by at 5:00am 3rd May 2018 (Updated 2:35pm 3rd May 2018)

Friends of the Earth is suing the Environment Agency for failing to take the best course of action to protect Lancashire's environment from the risks of fracking.

FOE are challenging a variation that the EA granted to one of Cuadrilla's environment permits

The enivronment agency says the decision follows a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s proposals, as well as all comments submitted during a public consultation.

However, Friends of the Earth believe that the EA should have required Cuadrilla to use a better technique for dealing with waste fluids - known as flowback - that fracking generates.

The more 'flowback fluid' Cuadrilla can reuse, the less waste will need to be trucked offsite.

They say the failure of the EA to make sure that the best available techniques are used could mean more waste and more trucks on Lancashire's roads.

Friends of the Earth are asking Minister Greg Clark to confirm that fracking consent won't be granted while this challenge is being considered by the court, so this intervention comes at a crucial stage.

Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:

"All along, the government stated that gold standard regulation will make everything OK, but we believe our challenge shows the opposite.

"Where fracking has happened elsewhere, we've seen instances of damage to the environment.

"We were told the UK's regulation would suffice, but already it's looking more like fool's gold, than gold standard.

"Recent research shows that 6,100 wells would be needed to provide just half the amount of gas the UK imports - that's one well a day for 15 years.

"This is just one Lancashire well already under legal scrutiny for poor regulation by not making sure the best available techniques are used.

"People will ask what of the other 6,099 wells pock-marked across the UK?

"Greg Clark should not grant fracking consent while significant questions are being raised about basic regulation in the High Court."

A Cuadrilla Spokesperson said:

“We can confirm we have been granted all necessary Environment Agency permits required for us to hydraulically fracture at our site at Preston New Road, Lancashire.   We are moving ahead to apply to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the final consent to fracture the first shale horizontal well,  which we completed in early April.  The Secretary of State will make his decision based on all the information presented to him but we note that the Infrastructure Act clearly states that if the operator has the necessary permits in place this "is sufficient for the Secretary of State to be satisfied".

We do have those permits and therefore consider it inappropriate for Friends of the Earth to suggest that there is any reason for the Secretary of State, on these grounds, not to grant consent.”

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