Today, Cuadrilla announced the appointment of Arup, the engineering and design consultancy, as independent provider of Environmental Impact Assessments to be conducted as part of planning applications to explore for natural gas from shale in Lancashire.
The process will start this summer, and is expected to run into the first quarter of 2014.
Arup’s work on the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) will include environment risk assessment, public and stakeholder consultation and planning application support.
“These EIAs are being carried out as part of a robust process of developing informed consent for the ongoing exploration of the very significant natural gas resources in Lancashire’s Bowland shale”, said Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive.
Founded in 1946, Arup is a leader in consulting to industry and governments around the world. “Arup’s experience in technical and public consultation was perfectly suited to the issues and opportunities in Lancashire, where there is a mix of technical and public issues,” said Egan.
Des Correia, project director, Arup, said “Shale gas exploration is an emerging area in the UK and Arup understands the full range of environmental issues. However, the vital element in this work will be using that knowledge to ensure we fully assess, explain and, as appropriate, mitigate any implications for the local environment or communities. We are pleased to have the opportunity to assess these issues in more detail and to support Cuadrilla in its commitment to the highest environmental standards on this project.”
One of the first steps of the project will be to agree a stakeholder and public consultation plan. Discussions are already underway with Lancashire County Council.
“Shale gas exploration is a process which necessitates that communities have confidence that all material risks have been properly identified and assessed, and the appropriate control steps agreed,” said Correia. “We will be working closely with Lancashire County Council, a range of technical experts, and local communities to provide the necessary analysis and consultation. Arup has always believed in high quality community consultation, and there will be a number of opportunities for communities to be part of the process.”