The UK has rejected calls from Cuadrilla to relax the country’s fracking regulations, which are “strangling” the development of the industry.

Cuadrilla has been forced to cease its operations, at its Preston New Road site on several occasions since it began fracking in the area in October, as a result of the government’s “traffic light system”.

In a letter from Energy and Clean Growth minister Claire Perry to Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan, in response to calls from the firm to review regulations, Perry wrote: “While I hope the industry can thrive in the years ahead, I have always been clear that any shale developments must be safe and environmentally sound.”

Perry noted that when developing and reviewing Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracture plan “at no point did you communicate… it would not be possible to proceed without a change in regulations”.

She added: “The government believes the current system is fit for purpose and has no intention of altering it.”

Cuadrilla is now testing flow rates at its two fracked wells to assess the commercial viability of the site and has seen no seismic readings of any size since 14th December, according to the British Geological Survey, the UK provider of geoscientific data.

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