Letter: Fracking - parish council has responsibility

In recent weeks much has been written in the press and on websites about “fracking”, some of it accurate and some of it inaccurate. Some people hold strong views on the subject and in a democratic society it is right that they should express those views.

Balcombe Parish Council has received communications expressing a wide variety of opinions on the subject, but it seems that most people would like to know the facts. What are the benefits and risks of fracking for oil and/or gas on-shore in the UK in general, and in Balcombe in particular?

With this in mind the Parish Council has decided that it has a responsibility to the people of Balcombe to investigate, inform and listen, and thereafter to represent their views on this controversial subject. To this end it has set up a working group comprising councillors and other residents with relevant expertise and/or experience. The working group held its first meeting on Monday 20th February

Its initial task is to research the benefits and risks associated with fracking, obtaining information from as many credible sources as possible. It will then prepare a report setting out the information that it has been able to obtain on the benefits and risks of fracking. Copies of this report, which is expected to be published during the first half of May, will be made available to the residents of Balcombe.

This should enable residents to arrive at informed opinions on the stance that they would like their Parish Council to take.  The Parish Council will gather these views, and will decide how it can best promote those of the majority.

Rodney Saunders