The battle lines have been drawn over fracking.
All political parties except the Greens have chosen to support extreme energy extraction, albeit Labour and Lib Dems want more regulations.
People have asked why we ‘stand in the way of cheap energy’ to the point where Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is prepared to be arrested while trying to stop fracking.
Well here’s why: Firstly the energy won’t be cheap. In North America flooding the energy-starved regional market with fracked gas has lowered prices. But even if we sank the tens of thousands of wells across Sussex and the UK needed to tap our shale oil and gas reserves Deutsche Bank, Chatham House, and Ofgem are all predicting that it won’t make a dent on a European market well supplied from Russia, the Middle East and the North Sea and won’t bring down fuel bills.
Indeed the International Energy Agency predicts the price of gas will rise 40% by 2020.
And the price we’d pay for fracked oil and gas would be very, very high in other ways.
Each one of those thousands of wells would need millions of gallons of water and raises the risk of drought in the South East.
The waste water from fracking is known to contain uranium, radium, radon and thorium which can contaminate our water supplies and local environment. Millions of extra lorry journeys will blight our countryside.
And above all it distracts us from the real challenge; climate change, and from the real opportunity; to secure our energy future with clean power from wind, waves and sun.
It’s no surprise that fracking companies are desperate to persuade people otherwise – so desperate that one of Cuadrilla’s leaflets was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for making exaggerated and misleading claims
If your readers wish to help us put pressure on the Government to ban the dangerous practice of fracking, they can sign our petition on the Green Party website. Quick link: http://bit.ly/1bznbG8
Cllr Alexandra Philips
Green Euro-MP candidate for the South East region
Response to MP Francis Maude
Mr Maude, Mid Sussex Times :
In response to Mr Maude’s letter printed on 29th August 2013.
Once again Mr Maude made a reply that answers no questions.
I find the remark in your letter to the press ‘Odd as they’re not fracking’ & ‘they’re exploring for oil not gas’ insulting and condescending. Those of us that have researched and become informed are fully aware of what they are doing in our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. That’s 85% of the village that are aware, informed and against what is happening. The few that are pro I would like to suggest have only listened to Cuadrilla and the press, therefore they are basing judgements on half truths.
As for ‘they’re exploring’ our community is fully aware of the exploration. Cuadrilla are disrupting our village with constant vehicle movements and the constant excessive noise, I can assure you we are fully aware.
What many of us are questioning is the fact that Cuadrilla have taken delivery of vast amounts of Amorphus Silica, hydrochloric acid and various other unknown chemicals. Silica is used as a proppant and holds open fractures that allow any oil within those fractures to flow. The acidizing of the rock cleans out and can open those pores further. You’ve noticed I hope that I still haven’t said they are fracking nor mentioned gas exploration. They will though likely find some gas or they wouldn’t require a flare. For now let’s not mention the risks of the flare and the fact that inshore flares are shown to work at less than 100% efficiency and thus the possibility of risk to health is evident. So, Cuadrilla are undertaking exploration, using the very same chemicals used when fracking but they are not fracking. Exploring the very rock formations that would be fracked using the very same chemicals when they decide they need to. You can understand then the confusion that could surround the terminology for some who are less informed.
When Cuadrilla came to speak with the village they said ‘we have no intention of drilling in Balcombe’ yet within months they are here drilling. Then they state ‘we will not frack’ in fact what they said was ‘we have no intention of fracking at the moment’, the question then is when will they. What they are doing however includes, washing the rock, stimulating the well to flow and using the same mix of water,chemicals and frac sand. So maybe, someone could simply get to the truth and confirm when does washing become stimulating and stimulating become fracturing and when will Cuadrilla tell any of us a whole truth.
Have you seen the letter from DECC ? I would guess no, I would guess no because the plans that Cuadrilla have are not the same as the operation at Sandbanks. But Mr Maude you do know, you met quite by accident in the stores with a villager who showed and explained the DECC correspondence. So with respect Mr Maude you are not comparing apples with apples.
A copy of the letter can be made available to anyone who wants the truth about what Cuadrilla are doing in Balcombe.
Another statement in your letter, because of protests it will take longer - utter nonsense it was always going to take longer than the existing planning permission allowed for. The question here should be who on earth allowed this to start without all the requisite permissions in place with the full knowledge it could not complete.
As for ‘if sustainable energy can be safely developed in a way that is acceptable to local communities it would be folly to rule it out’ Is it not folly to allow unsustainable energy with proven risks that are not acceptable to 85% of this community to continue.