Fracking: Earthquakes

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 13th May 2019.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on how many occasions the Government guidelines on earth tremors have been breached by fracking operations in each of the last three years.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Traffic Light System for monitoring induced seismicity was introduced after consideration of advice from three scientists, following operations at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site in 2011. The level of magnitude 0.5 at which operators must pause operations, was set in consultation with industry as an appropriate precautionary measure. These regulations have been working as intended and there are no plans to review the traffic light system.

Three seismic events, equal or greater than magnitude 0.5, were recorded during pumping operations at Preston New Road between October and December 2018. Following these red traffic light events the operator temporarily paused operations, reduced pressure and monitored for any further seismic events.

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