Blackpool Fracking: 12 tremors? No, now it’s over 30

4th November 2018

Over 30 earth tremors but frackers aim to push on

Bravely pushing on, or greed – ridden idiots ignoring clear warnings?

Whilst the fracking firm Cuadrilla celebrates the first shale gas from its fracking site in Little Plumpton near Blackpool, public anxiety increases along with the recorded seismic activity.


How powerful a quake does the region have to experience before the government wake up? Will it take a seismic disaster before they start to listen to the people and their own MPs?

Strongest tremor to date halts fracking at Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool

A 1.1 magnitude tremor was recorded (29/10/2018) and was the second to have breached the regulatory threshold in recent days. Subsequently, The company said fracking would terminate for 18 hours before it restarted.

The government’s traffic-light scheme for fracking regulation marks a red light event as anything above 0.5 magnitude and requires Cuadrilla to stop injecting water and monitor the well for further seismic activity. 0.4-magnitude tremors are classed as an amber event, meaning the company must slow down its work but does not have to stop.

As we can deduce by the data chart below, the tremors are increasing at a considerable rate as well.

A growing number of cross-party MPs are against the fracking situation

MP Rosie Cooper stated: “As a Lancashire MP I was horrified by the Government’s decision to overturn Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission for fracking. It flies in the face of the Government’s pretend localism agenda, and current attempts to meddle with the process do not pass the sniff test. My constituents oppose it.”

Tory MP Zac Goldsmith warned that fracking had “the potential to turn whole regions against the government”. Government fracking ideas “downright bonkers” according to Tory MPs

Moreover, this questionable government’s plans to fast-track new fracking developments have been labelled as “ludicrous” and “downright bonkers”, by their own Tory MPs.

Politicians from all parties joined a parliamentary debate to criticise an application to reclassify investigative fracking wells as permitted developments, under rules initially introduced to speed up projects like small property extensions.

Tories Kevin Hollinrake and Greg Knight and Lee Rowley as well as Labour’s Clive Betts, Kevin Barron, Rachael Maskell and Jared O’Mara criticised proposed changes that would make it easier for developers to carry out exploration.

Previous Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, labelled the government’s proposals as a “subversion” of local democracy. “Permitted development was created for conservatories, small extensions and outhouses none of which to the best of my knowledge have ever created an earth tremor,” he said in the debate.

Leading this week’s Westminster Hall debate, the Conservative MP for Fylde, Mark Menzies, said that the idea was “nothing short of irresponsible and downright bonkers”. He described some of the infrastructure and traffic that can surround shale gas sites and asked, “Who on earth thinks that is equivalent to building a little extension on the side of your bungalow?”

The general consensus of cross-party opinion appears to be that the Tory government has seriously lost the plot over fracking. Fracking companies are naturally profit-driven, as a high priority over public or environmental concerns, and the cost of halted operations to them is enormous.

Above: Blackpool Tower, as seen from Southport across the River Ribble’s estuary.

Although the recent significant number of tremors may be dismissed as minor, by some people, the accumulated and growing threat to the natural eco-structure may currently be of greater concern. Even houses etc suffer from subsidence leading to structural failures with passing traffic. Therefore, what impact can we expect when we start to make the earth shake, on such a regular basis, with questionable rock-cracking technology deep underground?

Emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Glasgow, David Smythe,  warned…

“There may be trouble ahead if work continues. Recent research by Stanford University shows that these tiny tremors can be indicators of bigger quakes to follow – like canaries in a coal mine. The problem for Cuadrilla is that if it carries on regardless, bigger earthquakes may well be triggered. Cuadrilla’s only safe option is to cease fracking.”

Professor Smythe’s predictions have been 100% correct. Some bar-room experts however glibly dismissed the recent 12 tremors as immaterial, yet now more have occurred and with increasing magnitude.

Can we trust them?

Will things get worse, can we expect an environmental catastrophe, or can we trust every single word uttered by the wealthy fracking company bosses and their promoters?

Time alone will tell…

Pat Regan ©