Angry residents 'preparing to sue Cuadrilla over fracking site'

An aerial view of the Cuadrilla fracking site at Preston New Road. (Getty)

Cuadrilla is facing legal action from homeowners over their claims the company’s fracking site caused earthquakes and damage to their properties.

The company’s controversial Preston New Road site near Blackpool allegedly caused “thousands of pounds” worth of damage to local homes after seismic activity in August.

The oil and gas exploration firm recently attempted to stave off the threat of legal action by offering residents £250 “goodwill payments”.

But their efforts appear to have backfired with The Times reporting that “two and three dozen” locals will join join the class action against Cuadrilla.

People protesting fracking in Lancashire by Cuadrilla. (Getty)

One resident, Mark Mills, said the group were talking their complaints to a law firm and expected more residents to come forward.

“I’ve begun instructing my solicitor,” Mills told the newspaper.

“I know a lot of people feel that those £250 payments were derisory and bear no relation to repairing this damage.”

The Government announced on Friday it is ending its support for fracking, a process which has provoked particular outrage in counties such as Lancashire and Yorkshire.

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Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said he was unaware of potential ligation and said the company would “vigorously defend” its position.

The Government announced on Friday it is ending its support for fracking, a process which has provoked particular outrage in counties such as Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Earlier this week the government faced growing calls to make its fracking ban permanent, as opponents raised concerns the major U-turn could be an election ploy.

The suspension is a reversal of years of support from the Tories, including from Boris Johnson who has consistently praised shale gas extraction and hit out at its opponents.

On Saturday, Andrea Leadsom defended the suspension despite praising the “advantages” of fracking, which she hailed as “a huge opportunity”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a disappointment but we’ve always been clear that we will follow the science.”

Pressed on why a permanent ban is not being imposed, she replied: “Because this is a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom.

“We will follow the science and it is quite clear that we can’t be certain. The science isn’t accurate enough to be able to assess the fault lines, the geological studies have been shown to be inaccurate, so therefore unless and until we can be absolutely certain, we are imposing a moratorium.”

The PM has previously hailed fracking as a potential “answer to the nation’s prayers”, and called its critics’ reactions as “ludicrous” and “mad denunciations”.

But he has now followed Labour’s pledge for a ban and conceded he has “very considerable anxieties” about it, amid growing public opposition.