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Ineos calls to end 'absurd' fracking quake limit

Fracking Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fracking in the United States is typically allowed at much higher seismic levels

Energy firm Ineos has urged the government to raise "absurd" limits on fracking which it said were making the UK's shale gas industry "unworkable".

Under current rules, drilling must be stopped for 18 hours if it triggers earth tremors above a 0.5 magnitude.

Cuadrilla has had to stop fracking for shale gas in Lancashire multiple times since operations began in October.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been approached by the BBC for a comment.

Ineos, which has licences for sites in Cheshire, Yorkshire and the Midlands, said the government was insisting on "absurd seismic thresholds" which were too low.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protestors have taken to the streets in many parts of the UK to try and limit fracking

Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe said it was "shutting down shale by the backdoor" with "no coherent energy policy" in place for the UK.

"The government's position is unworkable and unhelpful," he said.

"We have a non-existent energy strategy and are heading towards an energy crisis that will do long term and irreparable damage to the economy, and the government needs to decide whether they are finally going to put the country first and develop a workable UK onshore gas industry."

Ineos called on ministers to "either make shale workable or shut it down".

It pointed out one million shale gas wells have been drilled "safely" in the USA where a 4.0 Richter scale limit is allowed.

Government ministers have said they have "no intention of altering" the regulations.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Fracking at the Preston New Road, Little Plumpton has been halted because of tremors

Cuadrilla is the only company to currently fracking in the UK.

It resumed operations at its Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton last year for the first time since the process was halted in 2011 over earth tremor fears.

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