Cuadrilla breached fracking conditions, court told, Company exploring for shale gas in Lancashire exceeded 90-day drilling limit and broke wildlife protection agreement

Cuadrilla breached fracking conditions, court told, Company exploring for shale gas in Lancashire exceeded 90-day drilling limit and broke wildlife protection agreement by Damian Carrington, September 10, 2012, The Guardian
The company exploring for shale gas in Lancashire broke the conditions of their planning permission by drilling beyond an agreed time limit and beyond a cut-off date put in place to protect wintering birds, it emerged on Monday. … “It’s appalling that Cuadrilla is unwilling to respect even the most basic safeguards in the earliest stages of exploration,” said Caroline Lucas, Green party MP. “Instead of cosying up to the shale gas industry, the government should impose an immediate moratorium on fracking, following in the footsteps of France and Czech Republic.”

The regulation of possible future shale gas production is controversial because the government has argued that existing rules protecting the environment are sufficient to ensure safe operation of the new technology. … Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB, who has written to Davey with his counterparts at WWF-UK and Friends of the Earth, said: “We’re concerned that government is pushing ahead with shale gas extraction without clear safeguards in place to protect wildlife and people. The disturbance to wildlife and habitats has not been properly explored and neither has the risk of water contamination.”

“The regulatory authorities are hopelessly inadequate at their job and don’t have the protection of the environment as a priority. Companies like Cuadrilla are allowed to flout their obligations with impunity, while concerned citizens are criminalised,” said Smith, who was the third person to be convicted after protesting at the site and was fined £250. Lancashire council has no current plans to pursue the breaches by Cuadrilla. …”Cuadrilla’s flagrant disregard for the potential risks that shale gas exploration poses to local communities and the environment shows clearly that Cuadrilla’s only interest is profit at any cost.” In June, a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society concluded the UK’s current regulatory systems were sufficient for shale gas fracking if they were adequately enforced. [Emphasis added]

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