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Hyndburn MP expresses doubts over controversial 'fracking' schemes
10:54am Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
AN EAST Lancashire MP has waded into the row over plans to tap into the gas reserves beneath the county.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said that he was sceptical that the plans to fracture shale rocks to release natural gases, called fracking, will have any benefit in the UK, or Lancashire.
And he said he was concerned that the plans would ‘scar’ the county.
Drilling for shale gas near Blackpool restarted earlier this year as bosses at Cuadrilla Resources aimed to exploit the estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of gas under the ground across the ‘Bowland basin’.
The firm had suspe-nded its operation last year after it was feared small earthquakes had been triggered by the process.
It was allowed to con-tinue after stringent recommendations from experts who had been commissioned by the government They said that even a tremor too small to be noticed above ground should result in an immediate shutdown.
Mr Jones said: “As a Lancashire MP I still have concerns about the real benefits that frac-king could bring to the UK, and whether these outweigh environmental and safety concerns.
“While an increase in supply sounds like a simple remedy to high energy prices we need to look at the facts.
“For me, the environ-mental concerns must weigh heavy in this balancing act. France and Bulgaria (sites of the biggest shale gas fields in Europe) have both said no to fracking.
“It is true that gas prices have been reduced in the United States, but that argument is not directly transferable to the UK, so I remain a sceptic.”
Cuadrilla last week submitted an application to Lancashire County Council to continue its work at a temporary site near Hesketh Bank for 36 months. It is seeking to establish whether it is viable to recover gas trapped within shale.
Development director Mark Miller said: “Extending the existing planning permission would not change the fact that the site will be returned to its original condition once oper-ations are complete.”
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