'The government has rejected pleas by fracking companies to review strict rules around earthquakes caused by their operations, in a major blow that could spell the end for Britain’s nascent shale industry.
Cuadrilla complained on Wednesday that it had only been able to frack a tiny section of its well near Blackpool last autumn because of the limits, and warned it would not be able to undertake commercial fracking if the regulations are not reviewed.
Earlier this week, petrochemicals company Ineos urged a relaxation of the “unworkable” regulations, which mean companies have to halt work if they trigger tremors above 0.5 magnitude.
But on Thursday the government made it clear that it was not budging on the limits, part of a regulatory regime that the UK has said is more robust than in the US, where fracking took off and has transformed the energy landscape.
A spokesperson at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The government believes shale gas could be an important new domestic energy source, enhancing our energy security and delivering economic benefits including the creation of well paid, quality jobs.
“That’s why the government has given the industry significant support to develop while ensuring that our world-leading regulations remain in place to ensure fracking happens safely and responsibly.
“We set these regulations in consultation with industry and we have no plans to review them.”'
Read more: Fracking firms denied permission to relax earthquake rules
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