Tremors could be three times stronger before fracking halts, suggests study
23 Jan 2019
British Geological Society researchers have suggested that limits on seismic exploration on fracking sites in the UK should be eased.
At present, regulations state that drilling must cease for 18 hours if it creates quakes of more than 0.5 magnitude. The BGS says this might be safely tripled to 1.5 magnitude.
While the Government has given no indication that it will support relaxation of the limits, the report from a leading expert body is likely to be greeted with dismay by opponents and enthusiasm by companies interested in the energy source.
Recent attempts to renew fracking activity have fallen foul of the present limits. Last year, Cuadrilla reactivated its Preston New Road site in Lancashire, seven years after tremors had forced a halt at the Lancashire location.
However, its latest activity has fallen foul of the regulations again, with a total of four enforced stoppages.
RGS head of seismology Brian Baptie was reported to have described the present limits as “conservative”, with naturally-occurring quakes of 2.0 magnitude happening in the UK at a rate equivalent to two incidents a month over a one year period.