Update: Another record-breaking termor hit the site on Monday morning, with a recorded magnitude of 2.9 on the Richter scale. Nearby residents reportedly heard a “guttural roar”
The UK’s only fracking site was forced to stop work for another 18 hours after experiencing its second earthquake in a week.
Last week the fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire experienced a magnitude 1.55 earthquake, the largest ever recorded at the site. Then on Friday evening a magnitude 1.05, lasting for less than one second, occurred. This was follawed by a smaller 0.53 magnitude tremor on Saturday morning.
According to regulations work must be paused for 18 hours for any tremor over 0.5.
The increase in number and intensity of tremors may be related to the start of fracking on a new well at the site. The old well was closed down after a similar string of tremors.
The company insists that the integrity of the well is fine and that “minor movements of this level are to be expected and are way below anything that can cause harm or damage to anyone or their property.”
Although it is unlikely that anyone above ground would feel any of the tremors, they still pose a risk to the infrastructure underground and increase the risk of leaks.
Last year in the 60 days of active fracking at the Lancashire site there were 57 tremors, prompting environmental groups to claim that fracking cannot be conducted in the area without triggering earthquakes and that it should be discontinued immediately.
“Even small vibrations at ground level can be the sign of far more damaging impacts deep underground,” said Jamie Peters, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth.