Letter to The Guardian: Uprising against fracking nuisance

9 March 2012

Keith's letter to The Guardian about energy company Cuadrilla's plans to start fracking for shale gas in Balcombe, West Sussex was published on Saturday:

Uprising against fracking nuisance

Your report (13 January) of a packed village-hall meeting standing up to the chief executive and PR machine of the US multinational Cuadrilla over its plans to drill for gas clearly exposed the strength of feeling on this issue. The villagers are determined to oppose this oil and gas company's attempt to expand its dangerous fracking practice from Lancashire to the south of England.

There is growing evidence that fracking can cause a range of environmental problems. A recent study by the US Environmental Protection Agency reported evidence of pollution, finding a range of chemicals in the groundwater around shale gas wells in Wyoming. Last year in Lancashire a report to investigate minor earthquakes found it was "highly probable" that fracking in the Blackpool area by Cuadrilla was the cause. Mounting evidence about the negative impacts of shale gas extraction, along with the growing number of applications to drill in the UK, mean that now more than ever a thorough and independent investigation is needed into the possible effects on the environment and people's health. Until then the government should halt drilling operations.

In any case, shale oil will contribute little towards meeting our emissions targets. We should instead be investing in renewable energy, which is clean and safe. Other European countries are aware of the risks - France recently banned fracking. In the European parliament the Greens are questioning the European commission about whether this technique complies with EU regulations on water and chemicals, and I will be meeting constituents next week to support their campaign against fracking.

Keith Taylor MEP
Green, South East England

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