‘Fracking concerns’ must not stop plans

Fracking expert Dr Christopher Green
Fracking expert Dr Christopher Green

A WIGAN fracking engineering expert has played down concerns over noise and traffic if drill sites were set up in the borough.

Planning officers at nearby Lancashire County Council have recommended that an application by energy giant Cuadrilla should be rejected because of the issues.

But Dr Chris Green, of town centre based G-Frac Technologies, said a spike in traffic at a test drill site would be minimal and noise levels would not cause disruption.

And he has maintained that test drills such as the ones Cuadrilla is bidding to start on the Fylde Coast are required to accurately assess the amount of available shale gas.

Dr Green said: “There might be some traffic when they are building the site but we’re not talking months after months. The frack operation would then create noise during the pump operation which would be two to three days, maximum.

“And the treatments that they’re planning are just test fracks, to see how things react in the reservoir and see what kind of production we can get.

“The planning officials have very limited resources to assess these operations. There’s not going to be a lot of noise for a sustained period of time. There is no noise from a gas well which is producing unless you are within 10 foot of it.

“It’s like when you’re trying to get a baby to sleep and go ‘sshhhhh’ that’s what we’re talking about. Once its producing it does not make noise.”

Energy firms Cuadrilla, Dart Energy and iGas already hold licences that would allow them to start drilling sites in areas of the borough subject to local authority planning approval.

Dr Green said shale rock formations said to be under the North of England could address the nation’s energy concerns.

But protestors say hydraulic fracturing - known as fracking – can cause earth tremors and contaminate the water supply. A number of opposition groups have been formed in the borough.

He said: “It’s very difficult to know where we stand because these are tests. We need these tests to say what the frequency would be for each site.

“These tests may suggest that the site would only need to be fracked every three months.”