Members of the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) have delivered a letter to prime minister David Cameron urging him to reconsider his support for the extraction of shale gas and oil in the UK.
The campaigners also delivered a present of renewable energy-themed Christmas decorations, made by children in Balcombe, to No.10 Downing Street.
Charles Metcalfe, chairman of the recently-formed FFBRA, said: ‘The Government has announced its intention to license two-thirds of our country for fossil fuel exploration and development, and they want this to happen fast!
“In an announcement last week, the Government said that if operating companies have not drilled and exploited enough wells in the first six years of getting their licence, the licence will be taken away.”
FFBRA said the method that will be used to extract gas and oil is high-pressure hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, which it claimed would industrialise the countryside with thousands of wells drilled, lorries through small villages, as well as using millions of gallons of water.
Mr Metcalfe, who lives in Balcombe, said: “The Government says none of this will happen in the UK, as our regulations are strong.
“But our regulators are few in number, and rarely visit well sites. They rely on the operators to self-regulate, to tell them if anything goes wrong.”
Fracking has not been used by Cuadrilla at its site in Balcombe yet. But the company has put in a fresh planning application which will see it return to the site at a future date. It is keeping its option open for the use of fracking if needs be.