Cuadrilla granted 12-month extension to fracking debate

An order for fracking firm Cuadrilla to permanently seal two Lancashire wells has been postponed by 12 months.

The company had been ordered by the North Sea Transition Authority, the UK regulator, to cap wells outside of Blackpool by the end of June this year, but has successfully argued for an extra year to prove that the process is safe.

The controversial gas extraction process has promised to bring jobs and economic growth to the red rose county, but was subject to protests from local residents and environmental groups.

In addition to fracking not being viewed as a 'green' energy source, the process was temporarily paused a number of times following tremors in the summer of 2019. The company's equipment was finally demobilised in October of that year and no fracking activity has taken place since.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: "I would like to thank the prime minister and the business secretary for seeing the light and realising - just in time - how absurd it would have been to force us to pour concrete down Britain's only two viable shale gas wells in the middle of an energy crisis."

The news was not welcomed by environmental campaigners. Friends of the Earth said: "Fracking would do little to nothing for energy prices or energy security. Renewable energy, alongside a massive programme to insulate the country's inefficient homes, is the quickest and cleanest way to bring down soaring energy costs."

The North Sea Transition Authority said it is willing to reimpose its decommissioning requirements should Cuadrilla not submit a convincing argument before the deadline.