UK shale gas driller Cuadrilla Resources announced late Wednesday that it has begun discussions with local communities about the next steps for its exploration of the Bowland shale in Lancashire, northwest England. The company said it held two "drop-in" sessions last week.
The first session on the proposals for a new vertical exploration well at Clifton, Lancashire, was held Tuesday July 23. Residents were also invited to join at drop-in session on Wednesday July 24 at Elswick Village Hall to highlight any issues that they feel should be included in the Environment Risk Assessment (ERA) that planning consultants Arup is preparing for each site where Cuadrilla plans to carry out hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla said that people can continue to provide feedback on the ERA until August 12.
In another part of the country, Balcombe, West Sussex, Cuadrilla's delivery over the past week of a drill rig and associated equipment for a planned exploration well has been met by a high-profile protest from local villagers and professional campaigners. The protest is continuing, with more than two dozen protestors having been arrested – including Natalie Hynde, the daughter of pop star Chrissie Hynde.
The UK lifted its ban on shale gas fracking in December last year. Since then, the UK government Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that a shale gas industry in the country has "huge potential" and would not only be good for the UK's energy security but also for the environment due to the lower carbon content of gas when compared to coal and oil.
In mid-June, the government announced large tax breaks for shale gas producers in the UK.
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