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Seismic tests near Frodsham and Helsby to find out if area is suitable for fracking

Survey to determine the likelihood of shale gas presence beneath the ground

Seismic tests are taking place close to Frodsham and Helsby to see if it is suitable for fracking.

Over the course of about six weeks, the survey will aim to show if shale gas is present underground.

The tests are being done by Tesla Enterprises Ltd on behalf of IGas Energy.

Helsby is entirely within the survey area which also includes the Frodsham marshes, but not the town itself.

A map showing the area covered by the IGas and Tesla seismic survey

Frodsham Councillor Andrew Dawson said: “The positive thing from IGas’ point of view is they have at least agreed to publish the results of this survey.

“When this happens we will know whether this is going to be a problem for us down the line.

“If there is shale gas in the area and the company want to frack, we have agreed there will be a full public consultation.”

IGas and Tesla held a community day in Ellesmere Port, parts of which are also included in the survey, on August 11.

Anti fracking protesters demonstrated outside a public meeting organised by IGas at the Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port.

Anti-fracking protestors were present outside the meeting as worries remain over the environmental impact of the controversial process.

Ian Williams from the Frack Free Dee Coalition said: “Seismic testing is a precursor to fracking and with the release of new areas opened up to the industry, it is clear our communities are of interest.

“However, with a network of local groups already working together, the resistance is immense and awareness meetings are being planned.”

A field off Tarvin Lane, outside Frodsham where a seismic test was done as part of an IGas and Tesla survey into the area's suitability for fracking

Tests were spotted taking place in a field off Tarvin Road just outside Frodsham on August 19.

A tractor mounted with a ‘small seismic charge’ was being used to send sound waves down into the ground.

Reflected frequencies are then picked up to see the characteristics of the earth below, including pockets of gas.

An IGas statement said: “Occasionally some minor vibrations may be felt, however you can be assured the levels are within statutory safety limits.

“No damage will be caused to property or structures.”

A tractor mounted with a 'small seismic charge' conducts a test in a field off Tarvin Lane outside Frodsham

Neighbours reported being asked in the days before August 19 whether their land could be used for testing.

This was needed as a council decision means the work cannot take place on space owned by them.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Councillor Mark Henesy said: “I took a decision on July 22 not to allow a request to carry out seismic testing for unconventional gas and oil extraction on council-owned land.”

“It is important to note that this is not a policy decision.

“Currently any requests received by the council to carry out seismic testing on its land are determined on their individual merits.”

This IGas and Tesla survey is the next phase after work in November 2014 which the previous Conservative-controlled council approved for their land.

IGas said they aim to provide ‘the very best picture available’ as to whether hydrocarbons are present.

If shale gas is found beneath Frodsham and Helsby, proposed Government changes mean fracking plans could be fast-tracked.

Planning authorities would have 16 days to decide on applications or it could be made for them by Communities Secretary Greg Clark.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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