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Oil companies have a reputation, whether fully warranted or not, of caring little for the environment in their quest to discover and extract more hydrocarbons in order to increase profits and keep their investors happy. It may be quite choking to know then that Cuadrilla, the company that is trying to lead the development of the UK fracking industry, has decided to scrap plans to drill for shale gas at a site in Lancashire due to the potential harm it could cause to the large number of migrating birds that use the area every year.
Francis Egan, the chief executive, announced that Cuadrilla has decided to pull out of the area due to “technical constraints related to wintering birds.
We're looking at a number of possible locations and have decided to rule out Anna's Road so we can focus on other sites, which we believe show greater potential at this time.”
Cuadrilla’s drill site at Anna’s Road, Westby. (LNG World News)
Cuadrilla had already agreed to delay any test drilling at the Anna’s Road site in Westby until next year in order to allow itself the time to investigate and respond to environmental concerns that had been raised; the response they came up with was to abandon the site. The company is also in the process of assessing other sites in the area, but as of yet has made no other decisions.
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Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission to allow them to restore the site to its former condition, another unusual step for an energy company, who normally have no qualms about abandoning their old sites to stain the landscape.
Green groups in the UK, who have been worried about the impact of fracking sites on wildlife populations, will surely be delighted by the decision. In August the RSPB objected proposals to drill for shale gas and oil in Lancashire and West Sussex, due to the fear that current regulations just don’t offer sufficient protection against negative impacts on water, landscapes, and wildlife. This decision by Cuadrilla will surely prove to be encouraging to them then.
Unfortunately environmentalists are never really happy, and don’t understand how to appreciate the small victories. Always demanding the whole cake, and incapable of enjoying just a slice. Helen Rimmer, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth in the North West of England, complained that “Cuadrilla may have pulled the plug on one of its Lancashire sites, but the fracking threat has not gone away - the firm still plans to drill shale gas wells at other sites across the county.
With experts warning that shale gas won't lead to cheaper fuel bills and fresh scientific warnings about impact of fossil fuels on our climate, we need new solutions to Britain's energy challenges.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…