Cuadrilla pauses fracking at United Kingdom site after tremor

Minister of State at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry arrives on Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting

Minister of State at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry arrives on Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting

The 0.8-magnitude event was about 200 times smaller than the 2.3-magnitude tremor recorded in 2011 that led to fracking being suspended.

The natural disaster is the 14th recorded by the British Geological Survey and the joint biggest since fracking began last Monday.

Its been classed as a "red event' and the energy company has paused operations for at least the next 18 hours as monitoring continues".

A spokesman for the the Oil and Gas Authority said: "While the operations at the Preston New Road site have been created to minimise any disturbance, minor events like these were expected".

Cuadrilla was forced to halt operations for 18 hours on Friday after a 0.8-magnitude tremor.

Fracking is expected to resume at the site tomorrow morning.

Cuadrilla was hydraulically fracturing the shale rock adjacent to a well when the seismic activity was recorded, the spokesman said.

The British Geological Survey recorded the quake at around 11.30am on Friday.

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However the exploration company said "micro seismic" events like this do not cause any damage and can not be felt at ground level.

Fracking resumed earlier this week after it was paused as a precaution following a 0.4 tremor on Tuesday.

While fierce opposition from environmental activists prompted a court battle, a last-minute attempt to block the recommencement of fracking failed earlier this month. The previous days event happened at around 11.30am.

'This is deeply concerning for those living nearby and why the industry must be closely monitored.

Just days before minister Perry's meeting with the oil and gas companies, the UK government announced plans to facilitate timely decisions on shale gas exploration planning applications in England as part of a plan to reduce dependence on gas imports amid an ongoing decline in the UK North Sea's conventional gas production.

A spokesman for BGS said Friday's quake was recorded "right on top" of the Cauudrilla site and was the largest of 17 tremors there this month.

Critics claim fracking poses a serious risk to people and the planet through effects such as toxic air pollution, contamination of water and seismic events.

Any tremor measuring 0.5 or above means fracking must be temporarily stopped while tests are carried out.

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