Concerns remain regarding fracking site in West Sussex

The energy firm Cuadrilla, which is hunting for shale gas and oil in the Lancashire region, has decided to suspend operations pending concerns about seismic activity. However, although energy and climate change minister Ed Davey today proclaimed new controls on the process, residents of West Sussex remain concerned that the construction of a proposed drilling site in the area South West of Balcombe could amount to an ecological disaster.

Balcombe resident Vanessa Vine, of Frack Free Sussex (FFS), is concerned about the future of the ecology around the site, for it is close to the London-Brighton railway line, the Ouse River, Ardingly Reservoir, and a Grade II listed viaduct.

She made this statement: “The threat isn’t just the matter of our seismic security. We’re talking about the industrialisation of our landscape and how it would result in soil, air and groundwater becoming contaminated; we’re talking our wild ecology being jeopardised, as well as our farmland, and ultimately our health. It just doesn’t make sense that our legislators seem intent on permitting hydraulic fracturing activity.”

Mr. Davey today had this to say: “Shale gas is a promising new possible source of energy in the UK. It could prove an enormous contribution as far as our energy security concerns go: we’re seeking muster a low carbon economy, with less reliance on imported gas. My decision is rooted in evidence that’s been provided – I’m talking about detailed study involving the most up-to-date scientific research, and advice from some of the field’s top experts.”

“We are but in the initial stages of exploring for shale gas in the UK, and my guess is that it will only develop slowly. Its development must not prove detrimental to local communities or to the environment – that is very important. Fracking must be a safe thing, and the public need to be assured that it is safe.”

In the wake of the chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn statement last week, in which he called for tax breaks for those involved in shale gas exploration, Cuadrilla Resources’ CEO, Francis Egan, said: “In the UK, everything we do is fully compliant with what is one of the tightest oil and gas regulatory systems in the world.”