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Page last updated at 08:00 GMT, Tuesday, 17 April 2012 09:00 UK

New guidelines for fracking safety


A panel of experts has said a controversial method of gas extraction which triggered two earth tremors near Blackpool last year should continue under strict regulations.

Dr Brian Baptie, head of seismology at the British Geological Survey, said that there is only a "very small" risk of damage from earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking), adding that the maximum tremor that might occur would be around magnitude three - pointing out that tremors of this kind were quite common in coalmining.

There is "no evidence of structural damage from these kinds of earthquakes," he said, adding that he could not see why fracking should not go ahead, as long as seismic activity is monitored.

But Tony Juniper, former director of Friends Of The Earth, said that the environmental impact of fracking is "comparable to coal and possibly worse". Government support for fracking would cast "grave doubt" over their greenhouse gas policy, he said.

Richard Moorman, CEO of Tamboran Resources - a fracking company with permits to operate in Northern Ireland - said that fracking is "perfectly safe if properly regulated".

He maintained that the company is responsible for any work they do and that any incidents would be "extremely local and uncommon".

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