As the tide of objections rise against fracking, Longridge Against Fracking member Muriel Lord, who has studied the shale gas issue in depth, is contributing a series of articles to the News on the subject.
She starts with an alert about the countryside around Ribchester, Knowle Green, Hurst Green, Salesbury, Mellor Brook and southwards to Blackburn, which seems a likely target for shale gas exploration.
“The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Licensing Authority, has produced an online map indicating that the southern slopes of Longridge Fell and across the Ribble valley have promising prospects,” she writes.
“This map extract shows some of our local region. The most promising areas for shale gas are coloured blue. The areas to the west of Longridge are already licensed to the Cuadrilla exploration company. The rest is on offer.
“Since July, all Lancashire is licensed or on offer for shale gas exploration. Over 60% of the UK is now similarly affected. If gas in commercial quantities were to be extracted in the area shown on the map, there would have to be scores of wells radiating in a dense network from several pads, each the size of a football pitch. The “fracking” process would be used to try to release gas from the shale. This aggressive working, in wells a mile or two deep, is designed to disturb unconventional sources of gas, a new technique called “long lateral high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing.” It was used just once at used in the Fylde in 2011 and triggered two earthquakes and the well became deformed.
“We have an open Facebook site, Longridge Against Fracking, which provides much information and daily updates. Members will host an information drop-in event at Ribchester at the Working Men’s Club, on Tues, September 30, 2pm – 7.45-pm.
The shale gas story will continue next week.