As part of its environmental monitoring commitments and in compliance with new legislation Cuadrilla can confirm it has notified Lancashire County Council of its intent to drill four boreholes for the purposes of groundwater monitoring at its proposed exploration site at Preston New Road. Cuadrilla will also be submitting a similar notification for four shallow groundwater monitoring boreholes to be drilled at its proposed Roseacre Wood site.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, has written to local residents near each site saying:
“We have repeatedly spoken about our commitment to environmental monitoring and compliance with the UK’s robust regulation as an important foundation for our proposed exploration works. These notices demonstrate our intent to put our words into action. Whilst we wait for the outcome of our appeals for planning permission for both exploration sites, we want to ensure that if we do get the go ahead we are fully prepared to meet our obligations on baseline monitoring of the ground water. This will allow us to reassure and demonstrate to the local community and our regulators that the groundwater will not be adversely impacted by our operations.”
Cuadrilla is required, under UK legislation and the permits awarded to it by the Environment Agency (EA), to establish a baseline of the natural groundwater conditions in the vicinity of the proposed shale gas exploration works before any hydraulic fracturing work begins. Results of the monitoring will be shared with the EA in accordance with the permit conditions and will be made public by both the EA and Cuadrilla.
Planning applications for both sites’ proposed exploration works are currently under appeal and a final decision is expected from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government later this year.
The works involved in drilling the monitoring boreholes, each to a 30 metre depth, will last approximately 16 days for all four boreholes using two truck mounted rigs which have a height of less than 12 metres.