Cuadrilla welcomes fast-tracked drilling

Cuadrilla, the fracking firm behind shale gas extraction in Lancashire, has welcomed plans by the government to make the applications process easier.

A newly published report includes measures such as streamlining and improving the regulation process for shale applications, launching a new £1.6m support fund to help local authorities process applications, as well as debating whether permission should now be granted at a national level.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, said: “We very much welcome the government’s announcement highlighting the national importance that shale gas development has in delivering a safe and secure energy source, whilst meeting the country’s Climate Change obligations.

"We are pleased it is also recognised, as we ourselves are proving in Lancashire, that shale gas can and does deliver important economic benefits. In the last two years our exploration operations are responsible for driving almost £9m into the Lancashire local economy and creating 60 local jobs.

“In particular we welcome the measures the government has introduced on making the planning process 'faster and fairer' and providing additional resources to help local authorities. Our planning permission to drill and test just four shale gas exploratory wells in Lancashire was granted after a lengthy and costly three year process. These timelines must improve if the country is to benefit from its own, much needed, indigenous source of gas.” The government proposals were less warmly received by opponents of the controversial practice, who have long protested that fracking is damaging to the local environment.