After surrendering part of its environmental permit, meaning it will cease injecting hydraulic fracturing fluid into a site at Preston New Road, the UKs only fracking company, Cuadrilla, has said it will apply for fresh drilling licences in Lancashire once the government lifts its moratorium on fracking.

On Thursday, the Environment Agency (EA) announced that Cuadrilla had partially surrendered its licences for its test drilling site at Little Plumpton, close to Blackpool.

The surrender notice showed that the company had given up consent to inject hydraulic fracturing fluid, incinerate gases, and manage drilling waste, although it would retain its permission to manage waste caused by decommissioning its wells and disposing of non-hazardous waste and drain surface water from the site.

In 2019, the government suspended all fracking at the Lancashire site over concerns about tremors.

However, following the EA's announcement, the energy company said it will reapply for licences at a number of sites "as and when" that suspension was lifted.

In a statement provided to, an independent website dedicated to fracking, onshore oil and gas and the reactions to it, Cuadrilla said: "Cuadrilla surrendered these licences more than 6 months ago and the EA are only registering that now.

"As there is a moratorium on fracking we are not incurring the cost of licences we can’t currently use.  

"We will apply for the relevant licences at this or other sites as and when the moratorium is lifted."

Fracking for shale gas at the Preston New Road site was carried out by Cuadrilla between 2018 and 2019.

The operations caused earthquakes in the local vicinity, which led to the imposition of an England-wide moratorium on fracking.

Following this, Cuadrilla reduced their activity at the site and in Thursday's announcement, the EA said it was satisfied that the company could give up the parts of a separate permit covering flaring of waste gas, management of drilling waste and injection of hydraulic fracturing fluid.

The EA statement read: “We are satisfied that the necessary measures have been taken to return the site of the regulated facility to a satisfactory state, having regard to the state of the site before the facility was put into operation.”

Activist and campaigner Tina Rothery, who has been at the forefront of the anti-fracking campaign in Lancashire for several years said: "Of course it is hugely significant to see Cuadrilla continuing to close down and pull out of operations here but not unexpected.

"The shale gas industry has a history of damage and failure wherever it is undertaken and we can count ourselves very fortunate to have seen them off, before they became embedded in our community along with their emissions and risks of further seismic activity and water contamination.

"What now though is the biggest question; not only for the clean-up operation but for residents who still cannot rest until the 'pause' to fracking operations (moratorium) in the UK, is made a ban on the industry altogether.

"Although politicians assure that it is unlikely they will ever support fracking, it is too weak and as we know only too well, ministers come and go and can't be relied on to see things through.

"Residents across the UK put themselves in awful positions when they stood to oppose this industry for the past decade; risking friendships, jobs, liberty, health and costs.

"With COP26 climate talks being hosted next in the UK, the anti-fracking movement is now calling on the UK government to secure an international ban on fracking so that no other community has to go through this.

"With the UK Conservative government looking a failure on Brexit and Covid, let's hope they take this opportunity to get something right and get it done properly #BanFracking.

"We've signed the call for an international ban on fracking and would urge everyone to do the same."

To sign the petition click here.