“Frack Free Lancashire is concerned by the increasing frequency and intensity of seismic events accompanying fracking operations at Preston New Road and is now calling for an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Fylde.

“Eminent geologists have warned that events of the magnitude experienced over the last two weeks could be the precursor to a more major seismic event like those that occurred at Preese Hall in 2011. These caused damage to the wellbore and led to a seven-year interruption for the UK fracking industry.

“The democratic decisions that have been taken by our representatives on fracking, and even the overturning of these decisions by the government were all conducted based on a set of assumptions which presupposed the existence of a tight regulatory framework. This framework included this traffic light system with today’s limits.

“These regulations were put into place explicitly to protect the community and not to make the fracking companies’ job easier and more profitable. The suggestions from Cuadrilla and others in the industry that the regulatory goalposts should be moved simply because they are unable to manage their operations to stay within them is totally unacceptable. If the industry is unviable outside of this existing regulatory framework then they should pack up and leave.

“Our government’s behind the scenes dealings with the industry which seem aimed at weakening the protections suggested by the review into Preese Hall are a further sign that our “gold standard” shale gas regulation is a tawdry imitation of what we have a right to expect. We learned from a leaked letter published in the Guardian that Energy Minister Claire Perry MP, had suggested that “the trigger levels [of the traffic light system] can be adjusted upwards”, which would effectively give carte blanche to the fracking industry to provoke larger, stronger earthquakes, putting communities and even their own fracking equipment in danger.

“We note that Ms Perry was also reported to have had private round-table meetings with the fracking industry, which were not recorded on transparency registers. Today, The Times reports that Cuadrilla are calling for the seismicity trigger levels to be increased, with Francis Egan stating: “We appreciate the requirement for a conservative approach and will follow the traffic light system. That said, we consider that a red light limit of circa 2.0ML [local magnitude] would provide more than adequate assurance that no harm or damage could arise from fracking.”

“A quake of 2.0 Ml is 32 times larger than one at the existing limit of 0.5Ml and 178 times larger in terms of energy release. Such a change would be completely unacceptable to communities and should be rejected out of hand by our regulators, who should also be aware of the advice given by geology expert, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, who stated:

“The practical significance is not whether these tremors are felt at the surface or not, but in the potential to damage the borehole, and the potential to create gas pathways from the shale towards larger faults, towards shallower aquifers, and to the surface.”

“Residents experienced previous property damage from Cuadrilla’s operations in 2011, where an earthquake effectively shut down this industry due to damage to the wellbore which was reported to have led to a loss of integrity.

“With history seeming poised to repeat itself, a moratorium on fracking in the area is the only sensible course of action.”




  1. For further information, please contact or visit

For further information contact Claire Stephenson



Cuadrilla temporarily halted fracking at its site in Lancashire after a tremor located near the toe of their lateral well triggered the Seismic Traffic Light system. The seismic activity – around 0.4 local magnitude – was detected on Tuesday afternoon whilst fracking operations were taking place.

Even though it was not felt at the surface, the tremor is classed as an Amber event as part of the UK government’s traffic light system in place for monitoring seismic events during shale gas operations.

These are designed to protect the wellbore from the type of damage experienced seven years ago when fracking at Preese Hall. Cuadrilla has previously dismissed a 0.3 Ml tremor on the basis that it did not occur while pumping.

Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, Professor David Smythe told Frack Free Lancashire today:

“While the tremors induced to date are tiny, nevertheless the traffic-light system of monitoring induced seismicity does state that if a magnitude 0.5 event (or greater) is triggered by fracking, then the injection of hydraulic fluid must stop. But even this scanty piece of legislation has been poorly drafted, since it appears to permit tremors occurring after the end of a period of injection to be discounted.

“Cuadrilla now appears to be arguing that only events triggered during fracking, defined as actual injection of fluid under high pressure, will be counted in the traffic-light system.

“Scientifically, Cuadrilla’s slice-and-dice approach to the overall fracking job in a well is untenable, because there is often a delay between the end of an injection stage and the onset of a triggered event caused by the injection.

“For example, the Cuadrilla-commissioned report into the earthquakes triggered by fracking of shale in the vertical Preese Hall-1 well notes that the two strongest tremors (of magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5) each occurred about 10 hours after the cessation of injection in stages 2 and 4 respectively.

“The injection fluid needs time to seep along a fault zone until such time as enough of the fault has thereby been lubricated. If the shale is critically stressed – that is, it is ready to crack – the fault will slip, causing the earthquake. Cuadrilla was forced to admit that these earthquakes were caused by fracking at Preese Hall-1, although initially it denied any link. Unfortunately for Cuadrilla, all the shale in the Bowland Basin seems to be critically stressed, so the problem won’t simply disappear.”

In a statement, Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Seismicity must be monitored closely around the clock if hydraulic fracturing is allowed to continue in spite of the cluster of tremors we have seen around the toe of Cuadrilla’s well.

“Local residents are rightly concerned by these events and the fact that the traffic light system has had to halt operation just a week into the process. The issue is not whether these events can be felt, but whether they could be precursors to similar events that occurred at Preese Hall in 2011, which led to Cuadrilla’s performance as a licencee being questioned by the then Energy Minister, Charles Hendry.”

The well integrity and safety of what happens underground is beyond anyone’s control, following a seismic event. This risky technology employed by an inexperienced operator is something residents will never support and our strong opposition will continue.”

In parliament this week, during the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Shale Gas, Chair Lee Rowley MP stated that the government’s Traffic Light System may only be applicable to Lancashire and not at other sites across the country. And via a letterto Kevin Hollinrake MP from Energy Minister Claire Perry MP, she stated that she would look to relaxing the seismicity trigger levels by adjusting them “upwards”, presumably to benefit the fracking industry.



  1. British Geological Survey Earthquakes Around the British Isles in The Last 50 Days.
  2. Small quakes at fracking sites may indicate bigger tremors to come, say Stanford scientists
  3. Professor Smythe is available for interviews. Please contact Claire Stephenson for information.

Contact: Claire Stephenson +44 07929 969664



National Climate Crisis Rally


21 OCTOBER 2018


Yesterday saw upwards of 1,000 people marching together for the National Climate Crisis Rally at Preston New Road, following the week where Cuadrilla began fracking operations and five earth tremors were experienced on the Fylde Coast.

Speakers included Tim Farron MP, Deputy Leader of The Green Party, Amelia Womack and representatives from NGOs, the Trade Unions, along with local and national campaigners. All spoke of the urgent need to take action on climate change and to prevent fracking from gaining a foothold in the UK.

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron said:

“Leaving the EU is nothing to the existential threat to humanity of climate change The most important reason to oppose fracking at this site is that fossil fuels must stay in the ground.”

The Green Party’s deputy leader, Amelia Womack, stated:

“It’s rank hypocrisy that politicians who supported the suffragettes are currently criminalising peaceful protest.

“From the draconian use of injunctions to the wrongful imprisonment of three anti-fracking activists, a sustained attack on the right to protest is making it harder and harder for people to stand up for what is right.”

Estelle Dehon, a barrister who has represented several campaigners in legal challenges against fracking, said:

“I know there have been deep disappointments and there may be more with the law.

“But I firmly believe that the law realises that climate change is an existential threat. There will come a day when the law says no to fossil fuels.”

  Stephen Hall from Greater Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils said:

“It seems crazy to me when we are threatened with catastrophic climate change as the IPCC if say, we don’t act within 12 years, and the same week we’re going in the opposite direction here on the Fylde, in that we’re bringing in another fossil fuel. Something that we don’t need and shouldn’t want as I’ve often said even if it was safe with knobs on, which clearly it isn’t.

“There are much better alternatives at our disposal which would create considerably more jobs that the pitiful few that would likely be generated by fracking.”

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, who were the first Union to come out against fracking, also attended the Rally.

 Ian Hodson, National President, told the crowds:

“This is our community and when they come for our community, we stand together and fight. We’re a welcoming community and we welcome people from all around the UK and the world.

“But we don’t welcome Cuadrilla. Because what they want to do is put us all at risk. They’re putting thousands of our members’ jobs at risk. There’s over 1000 local people working in the food industry around here and are dependent on a decent water supply. We as people, depend on a decent water supply for food manufacturing and without it, we won’t exist.

“This isn’t an issue about defending jobs: this is an issue about defending the human race.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire commented:

“With the IPCC having made clear the existential threat that climate change in general and fracking in particular pose to us all, it was fantastic to see so many people joining together in solidarity for this event. The pledges of support our community has received in recent weeks has been both overwhelming and empowering.

“Cuadrilla caused five tremors in their first week of fracking operations, so the writing is clearly on the wall. It is time for Cuadrilla to pack up and move on because there is no future for them or their industry, either here in Lancashire or anywhere else.”


  2. 3. In 2015, Lancashire County Council democratically refused planning permission for Cuadrilla’s application to carry out exploratory hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road, on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Cuadrilla subsequently appealed to the Secretary of State, who in October 2016, controversially overturned the local council’s decision and gave Cuadrilla the go-ahead for planning permission. 
  3. Blackpool hit by four earthquakes just days after fracking started again in the area


Further information: Claire Stephenson


Minor earthquake activity detected in Lancashire as Cuadrilla begin fracking once again

19 OCTOBER 2018


Frack Free Lancashire are deeply concerned to note that shortly after fracking commenced again on the Fylde, there has been an almost immediate recurrence of seismic activity recorded by the British Geological Survey. [1]

The tremors are clustered near Penny Farm, west of the fracturing site, and near where Cuadrilla have indicated that their well terminates. There have only been two other quakes in the vicinity of the site since 51 tremors, including two significant quakes, which led to fracking being stopped in the UK for 7 years.

The three quakes yesterday were stronger than many of the tremors recorded at Preese Hall in 2011. It is too early to say with any certainty whether this activity is a result of fracking or whether we can expect further stronger quakes.

Today, David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow stated:

“Recent research [2] 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. To quote Cole Porter; “There may be trouble ahead”. Cuadrilla’s only safe option is to cease fracking.”

A spokesperson from Frack Free Lancashire stated:

“We will continue to monitor these events closely. Considering the relevant past history with the Fylde Coast’s geology and having two significant seismic events which effectively shut down the fracking industry, all eyes are currently on Cuadrilla. These events may be dismissed as being minor and “can’t be felt” but what occurs under the earth is beyond anyone’s control.”



  1. British Geological Survey Earthquakes Around the British Isles in The Last 50 Days.
  2. Small quakes at fracking sites may indicate bigger tremors to come, say Stanford scientists
  3. Professor Smythe is available for interviews. Please contact Claire Stephenson for information.
  4. BGS table of earthquakes

Claire Stephenson




12 October 2018

For Immediate Release

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire today said:

“The court decision is hugely disappointing. Our local councillors have been demanding information about emergency procedures for months now and fracking is about to begin at the site.

“The case was all about the failure of Lancashire County Council to provide adequate Emergency Evacuation procedures, and have public consultation and communication into Civil Contingency plans in the event of an explosion or gas leak at the Preston New Road fracking site.

“Given that an emergency situation at the site could impact health, threaten natural resources, or require evacuation, and particularly with the close proximity of a number of schools, it is unthinkable that Lancashire County Council or our government should have considered allowing Cuadrilla to go ahead with fracking without the local community being fully aware of what would happen in the event of an accident on site.

“The recent pipeline explosion in British Columbia resulted in an evacuation zone extending over several kilometres – there were just 100 people in that area: in the equivalent zone near the PNR site there would be thousands if not tens of thousands

“Cuadrilla can now carry on regardless, ignoring the urgent warning issued this week by the IPCC about the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but all of the fracking companies need to know that fracking will never get a foothold in the UK because they will meet resistance at every stage of their projects.”


  1. For further information, please contact Frack Free Lancashire media team:
  2. The Facebook event for a National Climate Crisis rally can be found here.
  3. In 2015, Lancashire County Council democratically refused planning permission for Cuadrilla’s application to carry out exploratory hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road, on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Cuadrilla subsequently appealed to the Secretary of State, who in October 2016, controversially overturned the local council’s decision and gave Cuadrilla the go-ahead for planning permission.



 2 OCTOBER 2018


The Conservative Party Conference 2018 has seen the controversial issue of fracking being raised several times by party members during fringe events at the Birmingham ICC.

Today’s fringe event organised by Policy Exchange and EnergyUK, was on Powering the Clean Growth revolution: making the opportunity a reality. The debate focused on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and decarbonisation plans.

Conservative MP for Wells, James Heappey MP, reiterated the election concerns of backbenchers, and stood to voice his concerns on fracking, stating:

“I wonder if we should look again at fracking.”

On Sunday, during a fringe debate at Conference, Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, warned [1] that the government could lose the next general election and parliamentary seats unless it drops its backing for fracking. Mr Rowley, a former oil and gas analyst, likened the government’s unbridled support for shale gas as a “barnacle that needs to be removed from the Conservative boat as quickly as possible,” quoting Tory strategist, Sir Lynton Crosby’s previously-used phrase.

Mr Rowley told a fringe event:

“At the moment the lion has not roared on fracking because we have dealt with less than a dozen applications in this country for the last eight years. If we’re to do it at scale, if we’re to achieve whatever objective the government is setting, we will have to have hundreds in Derbyshire.

“We cannot go from the level of objections that we have had with one well to hundreds of them and not expect a political impact.”

“We (the Tories) have so many problems at the moment… we all want to get back on to domestic agenda items as quickly as we can because we saw last week the danger of Jeremy Corbyn if we don’t do that.”

This echoes the rumblings on the Conservative backbench of rebellion [2] against the government’s policies on fracking, with the Permitted Development and NSIP consultation plans to remove local democracy from fracking planning applications, drawing objections [3] from councils and MPs across the country.

Feelings are running high within the Lancashire community where fracking is about to take place in the coming weeks. Anger is directed at the government who in 2016, overruled [4] Lancashire County Council’s refusal of Cuadrilla’s fracking application back in 2015, drawing criticism over the top-down power-grab for local democracy.









For MP comment:

Lee Rowley MP’s office – 0207 219 4197

Lewis Preston (Mr Rowley’s aide) – 07772 715657

Frack Free United Steve Mason – 07793 821242


Lancashire Suffragettes Against Fracking






100+ women dressed as Suffragettes will travel to Parliament Square on Wednesday 12 September, raising public awareness against fracking and local democracy failures. [1] The women are predominantly from Lancashire, where fracking is imminent, having been forced upon communities whilst blatantly disregarding local government decisions. Joined by women from across the country, they bring a message to Westminster: let communities decide on fracking, without the top-down power doctrine of central government.

The 21st Century Lancashire suffragettes have invited all MPs to join them and make clear which side they are on when it comes to the issue of fracking. The women are asking MPs not to support the proposed planning rule changes over permitted development in fracking applications – this policy is currently out for consultation. The women will also present their message on a giant postcard to at the Department for Business, Energy and Industry (BEIS). [2]

2018 is the 100th year anniversary of women’s victory in gaining a parliamentary vote after the Suffragettes’ campaign to achieve voting equality for women. The Parliament Square event will highlight how there are still many democracy issues on dirty energy companies taking priority over communities.

With cross-party support and from NGOs Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace, several other MPs, politicians and campaigners will give speeches, including Baroness Jenny Jones, Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas MP and former leader, Natalie Bennett. They stand in solidarity with residents who are being undemocratically forced to host fracking sites in their communities.

Award-winning actress, Emma Thompson, sent a message of support ahead of the Parliament Square event:

“Everyone should know the story of Lancashire, where local democracy was flushed away by the government along with the decision of the local people to RESIST fracking in the area. Fracking is a ludicrous way of creating energy and flies in the face of everything this government pledged to support in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“Support the Lancashire Women and force this government to listen.”

Dot Kelk, an environmental campaigner who will travel from Lancashire stated:

“We have brought our message from Lancashire to London: local democracy must be respected. On a local level, communities must be able to make planning decisions that are not interfered with on a national level. Otherwise, what is the point in having local governance?
“We say: let communities decide. Dirty energy infrastructure projects that have health, environment and climate impacts for years to come, should not be forced upon communities that have already clearly said no.
“The Suffragettes fought hard to give women a voice, but even today, we find we still can’t be heard by politicians.”

Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas MP, said:

“In July the Government quietly approved fracking in Lancashire – abandoning its commitment to tackle climate change by prolonging our dependence on fossil fuels, and defying democratic decisions made at the local level to block this dangerous drilling.

“Just 18% of people in the UK support fracking, while 85% back clean renewable energy. With MPs and women from across the country debating fracking next week in Parliament, ministers must listen to the public’s serious concerns and end their dash for gas.”
In a timely addition, there is also a parliamentary debate [3] on the same day, proposed by Conservative MP, Lee Rowley, debating planning permission and shale gas exploration. This will take place in Westminster Hall at 11.00hrs.



Notes to Editors

– For all enquiries on the day, please contact Tina Rothery on 07496 842334 or Gina Dowding 07838 793674

– Speeches will begin around 12.30- 13.00hrs, on Parliament Square, following Prime Minister’s Questions.


– Event photocalls are at 1.15 -1.30 and 14.00hrs – 14.30hrs.

  1. Fracking is back in England – and only the Tories want it | John Ashton
  1. Postcard presentation at BEIS – time TBC.
  1. Parliamentary Debate on Shale Gas


Claire Stephenson


Media Consultant & Journalist  | The Write Type


mobile: 07929 969664





Frack Free Lancashire




For immediate release

14 AUGUST 2018


Three local councillors have written an open letter to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, highlighting crucial defects in the regulatory bodies and highlight the bias demonstrated in favour of the fracking industry over communities.

The three local councillors, who have all been part of the group since its formation in 2017, complain that recent events have revealed serious deficiencies in the power of regulators, and in the completeness of information provided to the group.

Their concerns were prompted by the revelation that information about Cuadrilla’s sixth recorded set of breaches was apparently withheld from the group’s last meeting, and was only discovered as a result of an investigation by members of the public.

The councillors stated:

“If a regulator is not sharing information with the Community Liaison Group (CLG) there is no transparency in the system. The CLG is therefore undermined as it is clearly unable to provide the open forum for debate that is necessary around a controversial and untested industry.

“The timing of this is deeply troubling given that Cuadrilla is currently preparing the site to commence fracking within the month.
The government intends to take planning decisions for fracking away from local authorities and enable decisions to be fast-tracked. In our opinion, the robust regulation that we have been promised is non-existent.
The regulatory authorities have been rendered ineffective by consistent cut-backs and directives and therefore, public safety is being compromised.”






Talk Fracking Issues Pre-Action Legal Letter to Secretary Of State For Local Government For ‘Clear Failure To Conduct A Strategic Environmental Assessment’

* Failure to Adhere To Existing Climate Change Act 2008 Obligations To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

* Failure to Consult On a Fair Basis

* Failure to Review Three Years of Advanced Scientific Developments

Talk Fracking, the campaigning group led by Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré, has issued a pre-action legal letter (8th August 2018) to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (SofS).

The group, backed by Yoko Ono, Sir Paul McCartney and Lily Cole are challenging the legality of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published on the 24th July 2018, the last parliamentary day before Summer recess, after a consultation began on the 5th March 2018 – because of the Clear Failure By The Secretary Of State For Local Government To Conduct A Strategic Environmental Assessment before issuing the revised NPPF.

Talk Fracking is advised by Leigh Day with Barristers including Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, David Wolfe QC, Matrix Chambers and Peter Lockley, 11KBW.

Energy Minister the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP immediately issued the first permit to Cuadrilla to start fracking at a well in Lancashire immediately following the publication of the revised NPPF. Fracking is expected to start in late August or early September 2018 at the Preston New Road site, between Blackpool and Preston.

According to Talk Fracking, rather than consult on a fair basis and conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment, Mr Brokenshire blindly incorporated the outdated and flawed Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd from 16th September 2015.

According to Ms Rudd’s WMS, adopted by Mr Brokenshire, the Minerals planning authorities should: “Recognise the benefits of on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, for the security of energy supplies and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy; and put in place policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction”.

“Mr Brokenshire had a duty to British voters to review all of the available scientific data available,” says Mr Corré. “There are now over 1,300 scientific, peer-reviewed papers evidencing harm from fracking. All were ignored.”

Amber Rudd’s statement has been proven “completely wrong on the energy security issue,” according to Corré.

“Fracking companies are in no way guaranteeing energy security from their activities – in fact the UK’s biggest fracker, INEOS, uses fracked gas imported from America to produce more and more disposable plastic. That’s the same plan for fracked gas from the UK.”

“Amber Rudd’s statement has also been proven totally wrong in terms of its claims about fracking’s role in a low-carbon economy, a requirement in terms of our obligations to the Climate Change Act 2008.

“Fracking is, in fact, worse than coal in terms of emissions.

A response to Talk Fracking’s letter is expected back from Mr Brokenshire by the 21st August 2018. If this is unacceptable, it is anticipated that a legal action will be lodged in the Court before the 4th September 2018, which falls within the 6-week deadline for challenges to the NPPF.


Legal Letter from Leigh Day.