Fracking company Cuadrilla pulls out of shale gas site in Lancashire


A fracking company has withdrawn from a shale gas site near Blackpool which was the scene of a series of earth tremors that led to a moratorium on the controversial technology.

Cuadrilla said it was wrapping up operations at a test location in St Annes, Lancashire, because of concerns related to over-wintering birds in the Ribble Estuary.

Chief executive Francis Egan said the company would not seek consent to frack there. “We are continuing our site selection assessment and will continue to keep local communities fully informed and engage with them on our plans as they develop,” he said.

The company said other sites in Lancashire showed more potential.

Anti-fracking campaigners welcomed the news. Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “We’re pleased they’ve pulled out but we want them to pull out of all of Lancashire because of the huge threat to the environment. They’ve obviously felt the pressure of the local opposition and know they’re not welcome.”

A spokesman for Defend Lytham, which also opposes the technology, said: “It comes as no surprise to us that they have decided to cut their losses and discontinue operations there. We have always maintained that the site is totally inappropriate for a shale gas development given its proximity to housing and the inadequacy of the local infrastructure.”

The company removed an oil rig from a site in Balcombe, West Sussex, last month amid heavy anti-fracking protests, although it said it intended to continue exploration there.