Resistance builds to ‘fracking’ in Surrey and Sussex

Local Greens are opposing plans to carry out ‘hydraulic fracturing’ in several sites nearby, including Lingfield in Surrey and Balcombe in West Sussex.

The technology – also known as ‘fracking’ – is designed to access deposits of shale gas deep beneath the ground.  The technology has been widely used, with disastrous results, throughout large parts of America, and has already been linked to earthquakes after test drilling in Lancashire.

Redhill’s Green Councillor Jonathan Essex was interviewed on local radio this morning, along with Dr Richard Miller, a former BP Geologist, who lives in Woking.  Please note that the following quotes are from our own transcript so may not be verbatim.

Jonathan Essex said, “Fracking has not been properly evidenced. We do not know exactly what the impacts will be. We don’t know what the chemicals they are using are – whether they are illegal in the UK. And it has much greater impacts in terms of climate change.

“We can choose whether we want to reduce oil use and other forms of fossil fuels – or go for more and more expensive gas, oil and just continue to do as we have done in the past.”

Dr Miller said, “The fact is that we are locked into a fossil fuel economy at the moment but I do agree with the Green Party view. Basically if you hang yourself with a long rope or short rope at the end of the day you are still going to be dead.”

Dr Miller said that “the real risk” is the contamination of water by chemicals used in the fracking process.  He said, “The point about the fracking process is that you create a fracture over which you have no further control and yes, chemicals do have to be sent down the well – biocides, anti-scaling agents, anti-oxidising agents and various things like that. It is possible under various circumstances for these chemicals to escape into aquifers. It is also possible to breach right through the shale, and allow different aquifers to mix. If one of these is salt water and one of them is fresh this is not a process you can reverse.”

Jonathan said, “ What I would like to see is a national moratorium on this process until we have clearly decided whether it is safe and whether it is path that we want to go down in terms of whether it fits into a national commitment to act on climate change and shift to cleaner sources of energy.”

Members of Reigate and Banstead Green Party are attending a public meeting on fracking tomorrow (Wednesday 11 January) in Balcombe.  The meeting, at 7.30 in Victory Hall, Stockcroft Road on the 11th, has been organized by local group ‘NO Fracking in Sussex’.

Find out more www.gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com

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