VIDEO: Hundreds rally at Balcombe to demonstrate against fracking

Several hundred people gathered at Balcombe yesterday (Sunday) to demonstrate against fracking for oil and gas in the UK.

MEPs José Bové and Rebecca Harms from France and Germany came to the village to give support to campaigners trying to stop the extraction process.

Hundreds were drawn to the afternoon with several dozen invading the drilling site on the village outskirts to wave flags and chant slogans.

A police officer at the scene estimated numbers were between 200 and 250 while one local campaigner put the figure at nearer 300.

Fracking, properly known as hydraulic fracturing, uses millions of litres of water, chemicals and high pressure to fracture rock underground.

The technique - sometimes referred to as unconventional extraction - was blamed for an earthquake in Lancashire when it was used by exploration company Cuadrilla Resources.

Cuadrilla has a site at Lower Stumble on the outskirts of Balcombe where it carried out vertical and horizontal drilling last summer and is now applying for further permission to test for hydrocarbon flow.

The company says it has not used fracking yet and has no plans to at the moment.

On Sunday people from all over the area joined local people at Lower Stumble to listen to the MEPs offer support and talk of their own experiences fighting to stop fracking.

After listening to the speakers several dozen people climbed over the metal gate to reach the Cuadrilla site itself.

The double, barbed wired mounted gates securing the actual perimeter fence to the site proper were opened by the G4S security guards to allow the protesters access.

Once inside they ran to the only portable cabin currently remaining on the site and climbed on top of it where they waved a flag and banners and chanted slogans.

After a while all the protesters left and dispersed quietly, a number departing on a so-called ‘lemon bus’ to Brighton, which was apparently fuelled by vegetable oil.

Police were in attendance in small numbers with more on standby nearby but the rally was carried out peacefully.

The B2036 between Balcombe and Cuckfield was partially blocked by cones although traffic did have access.

For more on this story and pictures of the protest see this week’s Mid Sussex Times on Thursday