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Cuadrilla has confirmed to local residents near its shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, Lancashire, that the £100,000 community benefit payment for the second exploration well will be split proportionately between all households within one and a half kilometres of the site. 

This decision follows an independent consultation, carried out by MES (Membership Engagement Services) from 18th August to 15th September, which sought the views of householders in the Westby with Plumptons Parish on how the funds should be distributed. Nearly 80% of respondents said that the money should be directly paid to households in the area. 

Those households within 1 kilometre of the centre of the Preston New Road site will each receive approximately £2,070 and those within 1-1.5 kilometres will receive approximately £150. 

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: 

“Earlier this year we were proud to be the first British onshore shale gas operator to make a payment of £100,000 to an independent Community Benefit Fund following the commencement of drilling exploration wells at our Preston New Road site. We are now pleased to make this second payment direct to local householders, after listening to their views, which is another first for the shale gas industry. Our shale gas exploration work continues to progress in Lancashire, helping to strengthen the county’s economy with over £4.7m invested in the county since operations began, and now nearly 300 households will directly benefit from our community payments.” 

In August Cuadrilla paid £100,000 to an independent Community Benefit Fund, managed by the Community Foundation for Lancashire, which will distribute money to community projects local to the Preston New Road shale gas exploration site. Following the appointment of a community panel, which is expected to be in place before the end of the year, the first decisions about how the funds are spent will take place in early spring 2018.

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