Energy secretary Ed Davey has today lifted the 18 month ban on the shale gas drilling after it caused two tremors in Lancashire last year.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) will now allow developers to drill for shale gas using the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing - known as fracking - subject to more stringent controls to limit seismic activity
Developer Cuadrilla had been banned shale gas drilling after two tremors near its sites were linked to fracking.
The government has now decided the seismic risks associated with fracking can be managed effectively with controls following a detailed study by a Decc commissioned independent panel of experts along with a report from the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering.
“My decision is based on the evidence,” said Davey. “It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field.”
New controls include
- Prior review before fracking begins must be carried out to assess seismic risk and the existence of faults
- Fracking plan must be submitted to DECC showing how seismic risks will be addressed
- Seismic monitoring must be carried out before, during and after fracking
- A new traffic light system to categorise seismic activity and direct appropriate responses. A trigger mechanism will stop fracking operations in certain conditions.