People against Fracking in West Sussex in the UK

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People against Fracking in West Sussex in the UK

By Jamie Kelsey-Fry


A future we don't want: shale gas pipes like these in the US could ruin the British landscape. (Beyond Coal and Gas under a Creative Commons Licence)

Balcombe is a village in West Sussex in the UK. Thje UK government wants to start fracking there.The Battle for Balcombe is the last chance for people in Britain to stop the Prime Minister David Cameron’s energy ‘revolution’. This revolution will be through fracking across the country. The government says we have enough shale gas and oil for 100 years. But the idea of getting the gas and oil with fracking is not logical. Our aquifers may be poisoned, earthquakes may be more common, toxic waste may enter our groundwater, our fresh water supply may be used up, and fast climate change may give our children a terrible future.

This is mad big business greed. Many of our government millionaires have clear links to the fossil fuel companies. They say it seems a good idea to make money quickly now and ruin our future and not to be careful with energy and change to renewable energy that will last for ever and have a sustainable future for everyone.

The Battle of Balcombe is the most important battle for climate justice in the UK in the last 10 years. So, who are the people who want fracking and who are the people who don’t want fracking? The people who don’t want fracking are those of the local community who found out about what was happening and its terrible results. They went to the gates of the drilling plant to start a protest camp and did everything to stop the drilling. Other campaign groups quickly supported them, including the well-established national campaign group Frack Off.

Those who want fracking are not usually mentioned in the press. They are people who are clever at controlling what the public think, Bell Pottinger is the public relations company employed by Cuadrilla, the fracking company which is drilling outside Balcombe. They are well known for ignoring human rights abuse to support their clients, who include Qatar, Belarus and Sri Lanka.

I have visited around 100 homes in Balcombe and I have not met anyone who wants the fracking. All the local people I have met said they are thankful for other campaigning groups coming to help their fight. And this is in an area of Conservative voters. They think it is terrible that their government is not worried about what they want or their general health. Often I have heard them say that ‘there is no democracy in this country’. Tory voters are rebelling. Now that’s an interesting thought.

This has worried the government and for a week they said nothing about Balcombe or fracking. They are trying to make a plan to stop people’s fears about the safety of fracking and to stop a chance that local councils will block attempts for fracking. David Cameron simply said fracking is safe, fracking is safe, fracking is safe. He said it will make new jobs and that communities will be given money for allowing fracking in their areas. All three ideas are doubtful but most people do not have time to look at the facts.

The government is in a hurry to make laws to stop local councils from blocking any fracking plans. So, what can Bell Pottinger and the government do about the five day camp a group of hundreds of very experienced activists are making in Balcombe?

Cuadrilla said (probably on the advice of Bell Pottinger) that they might not do a full fracking operation in Balcombe. They also sent an open letter from Balcombe Parish Council saying that the camp was not wanted. This makes doubts and divides the community at the same time.

You decide who you support and who you believe. Do you believe the: hundreds of people who understand the terrible results of the rush for gas and fracking and who want to take risks to stop it? Or do you believe a government of millionaires with strong links to the energy companies?

For more information visit the No Dash For Gas website:

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