Gas exploration company, Cuadrilla, has received an official warning over its failure to adequately monitor and record groundwater at its Preston New Road fracking site

An investigation by the Environment Agency (EA) found that the company had breached three conditions of its environmental permit, including failing to tell the EA about the missing data.

A statement released by the EA lists the breaches as:

  • an incomplete data set for groundwater analyses between December 2018 and May 2019

  • inadequate communication and training in relation to sampling requirements and quality control

  • failing to notify us of the missing data.

Anti-fracking protesters told the Gazette the incident follows earlier breaches including unburned methane gas released into the atmosphere, spillages into a nearby brook and to failing to store wastewater properly.

A “Frack Free Lancashire” spokesman said: “This is the third time that Cuadrilla have received a written warning for a range of environmental breaches. They have shown themselves to have a totally cavalier attitude to the regulatory regime and it is clear the safety of the community is a low priority for them.”

Nick Mace, from Cuadrilla, told the local newspaper that just a small number of data points were missed out. "Since January 2017 we have had around 40 inspections and audits from the Environment Agency, with no material breaches of our permits.”

The EA has classed the permit breaches as “Category 4”, as subsequent data from Cuadrilla shows that there has been no environmental impact.

In the statement, the EA said: “We have spoken to the company’s management team directly about our concerns and the seriousness of ensuring their monitoring and quality assurance is robust and beyond reproach.”

A follow up audit by EA inspectors confirmed that the company has put in place all required corrective measures.

Last reviewed 10 September 2019