A public meeting is being held at 7.30 on Friday 10th February at the Subud Centre, 26a Station Street, Lewes to highlight the hydraulic fracturing proposed to take place at Balcombe, West Sussex. There will be a short film about the practice, followed by talks by Will Cottrell, Chair at Brighton Energy Co-op and Howard Johns, Managing Director of Southern Solar.
The technology – also known as ‘fracking’ – is designed to
access deposits of shale gas deep beneath the ground and has already
been linked to earthquakes after test drilling in Lancashire.
The company undertaking drilling in the UK – Cuadrilla – was forced to
admit that its activities were the “highly probable” cause of tremors of
magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 recorded in the Blackpool area last spring.
The drilling site at Balcombe – near Ardingly reservoir and the
headwaters of the Ouse – threatens water tables locally and
potentially throughout the region. If left unchallenged it
could open the way for many more similar sites throughout Sussex and the
South East. The process involves injecting water, sand and chemicals
at high pressure to fracture the rocks in which the shale gas is
embedded. It requires tens of thousands of tonnes of water, threatening
problems related to tanker traffic and putting serious pressure on water supplies at a local level.
Mixed with the water are hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals, a significant proportion of which are never recovered.
In areas affected by drilling in America, concentrates of methane and
other contaminants in water supplies have produced dirty tap water which
is also capable of being ignited. Another issue is waste water pumped
to the surface containing chemicals released from the rocks such as
radionuclides as well as those within the fracking fluids.
The scale and potential irreversibility of the ensuing
contamination mean that people throughout the region should be watching
developments in Balcombe keenly. While we clearly need new
forms of energy to come on line, the practice at best carries many
proven risks and has been shown to cause emissions at least equal to
those of coal. Its pursuit and funding also appears to be taking place
to the detriment of other, cleaner sources.
If we meet this challenge with sufficient energy, cooperation and organisation we will be helping to both prevent huge ecological damage throughout the region
and to keep our emissions as a country inline with what should be
binding targets. France has declared a moratorium on the practice and
is now revoking drilling licenses. It has been banned in several US
states. A UK moratorium on the practice is currently being proposed.
The evening will include tea and cakes and is being run on a donation basis – all money to go towards costs of hire of the hall and the wider campaign.
Please forward details of this meeting to anyone you think may be interested.
For more information see: