Green Euro-MP vists Balcombe to offer support to anti-fracking protestors

9 March 2012

Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Sussex and the South East, will visit Balcombe, West Sussex today to meet with local people who are concerned about the possibility of fracking being carried out at a site just outside their village.

Keith will join campaigner Vanessa Vine, a member of ‘No Fracking in Sussex', for a visit to the site where Cuadrilla, an American oil and gas company, plans to carry out exploratory drilling for shale gas. The company has already received planning permission and regulatory approval to carry out these investigations.

Later in the day, at 3pm, Keith will attend a public meeting at the village's Parish Room to hear their concerns and discuss what action he can take in the European Parliament.

Keith said: "This week Bulgaria followed France's example and became the second EU member state to ban fracking. These countries are responding
to growing concerns about the use of fracking to extract shale gas. More evidence is emerging about the possible dangers of this practice, such as the contamination of drinking water, and people are right to be concerned about the impact on their environment and their health. Until the UK government has carried out a thorough and independent investigation I'm calling for a moratorium on fracking."

"The European Parliament's environment committee has identified loopholes in the current EU legislation that should regulate fracking and is therfore calling for a European framework directive on mining. I'm particularly concerned that the current EU requirements to register harmful chemicals do not apply to fracking and that regulations on the need to conduct environmental impact assessments do not cover shale gas extraction. The parliament's environment committee is calling for a new law on mining to ensure that fracking is better regulated. Later this year the European Commission has promised to publish a study of the climate related impacts of possible future shale gas developments in Europe. It will also provide recommendations with regard to possible climate related regulatory needs and frameworks for shale gas exploration and production."

"Energy companies are rushing to exploit the UK's shale gas as if it's the answer to our energy needs. But a recent report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research shows that extracting shale gas could threaten the UK's ability to meet our carbon reduction targets. Instead our government should be investing in renewable energy which is clean and does not risk wreaking havoc with the environment."

Last week villagers met with Cuadrilla at a public meeting and expressed their concerns about the impact of fracking on their health and the environment. The risk of minor earthquakes, the use of toxic chemicals, increased traffic and the contamination of drinking water were all raised as issues of concern at the meeting.

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