Fracking could start again as firm behind drilling tries to get ban overturned

An energy company is trying to get the ban on fracking overturned.

Energy firm Cuadrilla, which suspended fracking in Lancashire after several tremors in August, is hoping to convince the Government the practice is safe.

Ministers called a halt to the process on Saturday following research from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) which raised concerns over the ability to predict earthquakes linked to fracking.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the ‘effective moratorium’ would be ‘maintained until compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity’.

Cuadrilla has said it is working to address those concerns and hoped the prospective Bowland gas resource could be further appraised and developed.

Both the Government and Cuadrilla continue to say natural gas will play an important role in providing energy for the UK for decades to come.

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But opponents want the Conservatives to make the ban permanent.

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They fear fracking could cause earthquakes, pollute water, lead to damaging development in the countryside and hit house prices, and is not compatible with targets to cut fossil fuel use to tackle climate change.

Cuadrilla plans to work with the OGA to provide detailed data to aid its case, including from its second well at Preston New Road where fracking was suspended in August.

Ms Leadsom also announced the Tories were dropping moves to deal with planning applications for fracking at a national level and remove the need for planning permission for non-fracking shale exploration.

The proposed planning reforms, which provoked controversy, aimed to speed up the process of giving the green light to shale gas projects.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves liquid pumped deep underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas.

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