'A group of almost 50 scientists have called on the government to review the earthquake limit for fracking sites in order to allow the industry to grow in the UK.
Currently any fracking must be put on hold if it produces earthquakes above the 0.5 magnitude limit, a provision that has repeatedly brought operations in Lancashire to a halt in recent months.
The open letter to The Times has added support to the voices of fracking industry chiefs from Ineos and Cuadrilla who have called for looser earthquake restrictions.
The 49 geoscientists, some of whom have been linked to the oil and gas industry, called the existing “traffic light” system “extremely conservative”.
In the letter, they wrote the limit is: “very far below the levels set in other countries, or for other comparable industries in the UK (such as quarrying, mining and deep geothermal energy).”
In the US, which has a far more developed fracking industry, the limits are at between 2.7 and 4.5 depending on the state.
However, the government has refused to budge on its commitment to avoid raising the earthquake limit, which it said was agreed after consultation with industry.
While smaller quakes are not generally felt at the surface, there are concerns repeated events will cause damage to infrastructure, and that they could lead to large tremors that compromise the fracking borehole and cause leaks.'
Read more: Scientists urge government to relax earthquake rules to allow more fracking