Were the celebrations about the end of fracking premature? Cuadrilla vows to apply for new permission

Campaigners had celebrated the removal of equipment from Cuadrilla's Lancashire fracking site, but the firm has confirmed it is applying for an extension.

Fracking may continue in Lancashire despite campaigners’ hopes the practice was being abandoned.

Earlier this month Country Life reported celebrations from activists after equipment was removed from Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, but the firm has since confirmed their intentions to continue drilling.

Work was suspended in August when the area recorded its largest ever tremor — measuring 2.9ML on the Richter scale — and an Oil and Gas Authority review was launched.

A spokesperson for Cuadrilla told the Guardian it had not updated its position on drilling since August, when it indicated it would apply for an extension from November. However, it will await the outcome of the technical reviews before doing so.

If the extension is approved, the company will be permitted to drill for shale until at least 2021.

Fracking involves pumping water, chemicals and sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release trapped oil and gas. Those opposed to the practice argue that it can contaminate water, pollute the air and industrialise the countryside, as well as lead to earthquakes.

Although the Conservative party still officially supports fracking, between 30 and 40 Tory backbenchers are understood to favour a ban, according to The Times. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have all called for a ban on the practice.

‘The UK’s fracking experiment has been a total failure,’ said Jamie Peters, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth. ‘It can’t be carried out without triggering earthquakes, and would lead to more climate-wrecking pollution being pumped into our atmosphere.

‘It’s time to end the blight and misery this industry has caused to residents in Lancashire by pulling the plug on it for once and for all. The government should focus on developing the UK’s huge renewable power potential, and end its backing for more dirty gas and oil.’