‘Alarming news’ in fracking plans for East Lancs

An exploratory fracking drilling rig. (S)
An exploratory fracking drilling rig. (S)
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A Pendle peer says issuing a fracking licence for the Burnley and Pendle area to “an obscure” firm is “very worrying”.

Lord Greaves, also deputy leader of Pendle Council, says the petroleum licence has been offered in the latest round of onshore licences, and covers Burnley, Pendleside and the valley around Brierfield, Nelson, Barrowford, and the south side of Colne as far east as Carry Bridge.

The new Conservative government seems to have thrown caution to the wind, along with a lot of the renewable projects promoted under the coalition

Lord Greaves

The lead operator for this licence and another one in the 10km square to the west, is Osprey Petroleum, in partnership with companies called OK Energy (Onshore) Ltd, and Energy Developments and Investment UK Ltd.

Their commitment is for a two-dimensional geological seismic survey, and one well, though there could be more if successful, according to Lord Greaves.

He said: “This is alarming news, and very worrying. We had all assumed that the proposed fracking wells in West Lancashire would, if carried out, be relatively small-scale pilot schemes, and that the prospects of early fracking development in the more difficult terrain of East Lancashire would be a long time off.

“But the new Conservative government seems to have thrown caution to the wind, along with a lot of the renewable projects promoted under the coalition.

“It is astonishing that they are going gung-ho for shale gas fracking just a week after they signed up to the commitments at the Climate Change Conference in Paris – this seems like shocking hypocrisy.”

Lord Greaves said it was unclear where exactly drilling may take place and was trying to establish more about Osprey, believed to be based in Edinburgh, its partners and their intentions.

He added: “Pendle Council has made it quite clear that we do not want it in Pendle. But with Pendle’s MP an apparent enthusiast for fracking, we will have to be very vigilant.”