INDEPENDENT monitors are set to be drafted in to keep a close eye on two potential fracking sites in Lancashire, it has been confirmed.

County councillors are set to run the rule over two prospective shale gas plants at Little Plumpton and Roseacre, amid speculation that East Lancashire could see its first such operation within four years.


The British Geological Survey (BGS) has revealed it will expand its national monitoring programmes for environmental issues, including seismic activity and groundwater, to carry out detailed research in areas which may see shale gas extraction.

The BGS has already confirmed that half a dozen licences will be issued along the M65 corridor, from Blackburn through to Burnley and Colne, for areas said to be rich in underground shale gas reserves.

Prof John Ludden, executive director of the BGS, said: “This groundbreaking research will provide new scientific insight and innovative ways of monitoring the environmental impact of shale gas development.”

Prof Rob Ward, the BGS director of groundwater science, added: “Hydraulic fracturing of shale rock is a new activity within the UK which, as with any subsurface industrial activity, will induce changes.

“Research will involve monitoring before, during and after the operations will provide valuable scientific information.”

Friends of the Earth’s North West regional campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “Communities are sending a clear message that they don’t want fracking and won’t be assured by promises of monitoring. With over 20,000 people objecting to Cuadrilla’s fracking plans in Lancashire, it’s clear that local residents don’t want fracking to go ahead full stop.”