Southport MP urges shale gas drillers to guarantee safety

Protesters scale a shale gas rig near Southport Image copyright PA
Image caption Protesters scaled a shale gas rig near Southport on Wednesday

The only way to achieve public support for the practice of shale gas drilling is to "guarantee safety at every stage", a Merseyside MP has said.

The process, known as fracking, was thought to be the likely cause of earth tremors in Lancashire in May and June.

At a Westminster Hall debate on Thursday, Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh said: "We must have monitoring that's appropriate and effective."

The drilling company is due to answer public concerns at a meeting later.

Dr Pugh said: "If we are to get any benefit whatsoever from shale gas in the UK, we must be able to guarantee safety at every stage.

"Therefore we must have monitoring that's appropriate and effective, we must have enforcement that's appropriate and effective.

"There'll be much anxiety about it and without that we simply have to accept that we have an asset maybe to bequeath, but not necessarily one we can use."

The extraction method, which pumps water and chemicals underground at high pressure to shatter rock formations and release gas, has met opposition from protesters who claim it is unsafe.

Energy firm Cuadrilla was expected to attend a public meeting in Tarleton, Lancashire, to answer questions from residents.

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