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Blackpool MP writes to Business Secretary demanding halt to fracking

Labour's Gordon Marsden is concerned following Monday's 'earthquake'

Blackpool residents came forward in their hundreds following a tremor which measured 2.9 on the richter scale on Monday.

Reports came in from Mereside, South Shore and Marton Moss, all areas that Gordon Marsden represents in Parliament.

He wrote the following to Business Secretry Andrea Leadsom

"I am writing to you to demand an urgent independent investigation into the set of tremors that have been felt across Blackpool and the Fylde this weekend and to order a further halt to the operations by Cuadrilla locally right now and permanently.

The tremors, after Cuadrilla have resumed their fracking operation, are extremely alarming, with yesterday morning’s seismic event measuring 2.9 ML and widespread reports and emails from my constituents of their tales of wardrobe doors flying open, windows rattling and other disturbances.

My understanding is the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has suspended operations and will remain suspended while they gather data from this and other recent seismic events. I therefore ask you urgently set up an independent inquiry to look into the circumstances of the seismic activity this weekend and assess the damage that has occurred and the risk my constituents and their property face from ongoing tremors in the area.

Should damage occur – who will be providing compensation to my constituents? What ability will people have to claim compensation for the cumulative damage caused by these tremors - will central government make funds available or will the responsibility fall on the regulator or Cuadrilla?

I have consistently opposed fracking, alongside the majority of residents in Blackpool and surrounding areas, Lancashire County Council – and indeed many in the House on both sides. 

After the latest weekend of tremors, and now huge concerns locally - work at Cuadrilla's sites should stop - it has no part in the energy policy or the Green economy we need to see.

We must have not just a temporary pause but a permanent one as well as a proper investigation into the details of the tremors that have occurred this weekend. We cannot let this go on any longer and risk further potential damage and unsettling of local people.

I look forward to your urgent response."

Cuadrilla issued the following statement after the incident:

"We can now confirm the event detected at 8.30am in the area of our exploration site in Preston New Road, near Blackpool, was magnitude 2.9 on the Richter scale.

"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. This is about a third of that permitted for construction projects.

"As previously stated, we were not operational this morning and no hydraulic fracturing has been carried out this weekend.

"We are working with the team of regulators who intensely monitor our activity at Preston New Road to investigate the event and will provide more updates in due course. Hydraulic fracturing operations will remain suspended during this time.

"We have verified that the well integrity is unaffected."

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