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Fracking halted at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire site after earthquake

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Cuadrilla has been forced to suspend fracking at their Lancashire site after a 0.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded.

The British Geological Survey recorded the quake at around 11.30am today.

In a statement to Sky News, Cuadrilla’s spokesperson confirmed: “Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a horizontal well at the time and the seismicity is classed as a red event in line with the traffic light monitoring system regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).”

The spokesperson added: “Work will now pause for at least 18 hours and is expected to recommence in the morning.”

During the 18 hour suspension, seismicity levels will continue to be measured.

Cuadrilla uses the Oil and Gas authority’s “traffic light system” to help monitor and access tremors.

If an earthquake’s magnitude is 0.5 or above, this is categorised as “red light” and means that work must be suspended immediately.

A magnitude between 0 and 0.5 allows work to proceed but with “caution, possibly at reduced rates” and will launch a greater level of monitoring.

“It is reassuring that the monitoring and traffic light system is working as it should,” the Caudrilla spokesperson said, adding that “All the relevant regulators were informed without delay and we have verified that the well integrity is intact.”

Cuadrilla report the local magnitude of the quake was 0.76ML.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) records seismicity to one decimal place and therefore have recorded the event as 0.8ML.

The Preston New Road site in Lancashire is Cuadrilla’s first commercial fracking site on UK soil.

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