A Green MEP for the South East has warned that the countryside could be carved up by fracking for shale gas in the UK.
Responding to initial reports on the British Geological Survey’s findings on shale gas, Keith Taylor said that the process had serious environmental consequences.
The findings are expected to suggest that the UK has greater shale gas reserves than previously thought, though it is unclear how much can be extracted.
The issue of fracking has come to a head in West Sussex as Cuadrilla looks to start exploratory drilling for conventional energy deposits in Balcombe, with many residents vociferously against the scheme.
Meanwhile residents of Wisborough Green held a public meeting on Monday June 23 to discuss proposals by Celtique Energie to test drill between the village and Kirdford, which they fear could pave the way for fracking.
Mr Taylor said: “More shale gas reserves under the UK means more of our countryside is likely to be carved up for drilling.
“The fact is that fracking, which involves pumping chemical-laced water into the ground at high pressure, has serious environmental consequences.
“Indeed only this week a study has shown that the drinking water near homes around fracking sites in Pennsylvania has been contaminated by methane, ethane and propane.
“Little wonder then, that the Government is so keen on financially rewarding communities who accept fracking. Ministers know that people in the UK are aware of the dangers and won’t be persuaded easily.”
The survey of land in Lancashire and Yorkshire is expected to suggest that underground deposits of shale gas are much higher than previous estimates.
The process involves pumping high-pressure water and chemicals underground to release gas or oil from porous shale rocks.
Campaigners fear that the process could lead to contaminating drinking water supplied through underground aquifers.
Mr Taylor added: “Rather than paying communities to let corporations drill in their fields the Government should be helping people set up local renewable energy production that they themselves own.
“And, if we’re really serious about curbing the worst effects of climate change we need to be making huge investments in renewables as well as reducing demand.”
He will be touring his constituency in July screening ‘Drill Baby Drill’ a film about communities in Poland and the USA fighting fracking projects.
For the full story of the Wisborough Green meeting on Monday see today’s West Sussex County Times - Horsham edition.