MP Francis Maude condemns ‘pointless’ anti-fracking protest

Maude protest

Maude protest

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An impassioned campaign against fracking in nearby Balcombe spilled over into Horsham yesterday when protesters targeted MP Francis Maude’s office armed with a wind turbine blade.

Members of Reclaim the Power, who recently descended upon energy firm Cuadrilla’s site in the village, climbed Mr Maude’s office in Madeira Avenue and waved a banner from his roof on Monday morning (August 19).

The MP and minister for the Cabinet Office has branded the action ‘one of the most pointless exercises I have come across’ and said ‘the only effect was to cause distress and hassle to our hardworking dedicated team’.

The activists told the County Times he was targeted for his ‘pro-fracking views’.

They had left a wind turbine blade outside the entrance to Mr Maude’s office with a note which read: “Dear Francis, please accept this gift of the solution to UK energy security.

“This should allow you to avoid any trouble with jerry cans in the future.

“With deep love and abiding affection.”

Mr Maude apologised to his constituents in Balcombe.

He responded: “I’m sorry that the genuine concerns and peaceful protests of Balcombe residents have been drowned out by illegal direct action by organisations who have no direct interest in the locality.

“My constituents in Balcombe are entitled to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed by the regulators.

“The company also have a right to carry out an activity which has been subjected to the full rigour of regulatory scrutiny.”

He continued: “As for the demonstration at Gough House, this was one of the most pointless exercises I have come across.

“The only effect was to cause distress and hassle to our hardworking dedicated team, and to waste even more police time and precious resources.”