Campaigners Greenpeace have targeted a West Sussex County Council meeting in its ‘not for shale’ roadshow this morning (Friday June 6).
According to a new poll commissioned by the group two thirds (66 per cent) of people in Sussex would like to see a moratorium on fracking, and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) think more time should be allowed for a public debate on the controversial industry to take place before planning authorities make a decision on whether it should go ahead,
Greenpeace activists set up a mock ‘Wrong Move’ estate agent roadshow in front of Chichester’s County Hall to meet councillors, and have planted flags and hung signs outside the building.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure underground to split apart porous shale rock to release trapped oil or gas.
Cuadrilla’s activities in Balcombe led to large demonstrations last summer and received national media attention, even though the firm has repeatedly stated it has no intention of fracking there.
In late April West Sussex County Council’s Planning Committee approved the company’s application to continue exploratory activities at the Lower Stumble Exploration Site much to the dismay of hundreds of villagers.
Meanwhile Celtique Energie has permission for exploratory drilling south of Billingshurst, and is seeking permission for two more sites, one in Fernhurst, and another near Wisborough Green, although the first site is only looking for conventional energy deposits.
In the wake of a report from the British Geological Survey that said there could be billions of barrells of shale oil under the Weald basin last month, Celtique said they were looking at two further sites in West Sussex.
Simon Clydesdale, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner, said: “The shale gas lobby and their political cheerleaders are hustling the country into taking a rash decision on something as controversial as fracking. But this survey shows local people would like their political leaders to take the foot off the shale gas pedal and slam the brakes on this mad dash to frack.
“Sussex planning authorities are about to make a decision that will have huge repercussions not just for local people but for the rest of Britain too. They can be the first to open the floodgates to a fracking frenzy, or the first to make a stand against an industry trying to bulldoze its way across our countryside.
“Thousands of people in Sussex are already urging them to act responsibly to safeguard the well-being of our communities and our environment – they’ll ignore them at their peril.”
Meanwhile reform of the trespass laws in the Infrastructure Bill, announced in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, could allow companies to drill under people’s homes without their permission.
Greenpeace is calling on people concerned about the prospect of fracking to write to their MP urging them to vote against any measures that might
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