Cuadrilla granted permits by the EA
So we learned today that Cuadrilla have been granted their environmental permit which was need to allow them to extract shale gas at their proposed site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton (For the exploratory well – not production). We knew back in November that the EA were minded to grant Cuadrilla the environmental permits needed to carry out their operations so this news comes as no surprise.
In the Lancashire Evening Post we read that
Steve Molyneux, Environment Manager for Lancashire, said on Friday morning: “After completing a rigorous assessment of Cuadrilla’s application and the public consultation responses, we are confident the permits issued will ensure people and the environment are protected.
“The right controls are in place to manage waste and the flaring of gas safely and protect local water resources.
“We value the feedback received during the public consultation and will continue to work with the local community.
“Should Cuadrilla begin exploration, we will ensure the permit conditions are enforced.”
Mr Molyneux’s ability to ensure that the lengthy permitting conditions are enforced is highly questionable given the recent decimation of staff as a result of the 15% budget cuts at the environment agency in 2013.
As a result it is likely that we will have to rely on Cuadrilla complying with these regulations at a time when the financial pressure on the shale gas companies is increasing with every downward lurch of the price of oil. Our real concern is that financial pressure leads to corners being cut and Cuadrilla’s previous track record on complying with regulations does not inspire confidence.