The growing protest against exploratory drilling at Balcombe
Green councillors travelled to Balcombe yesterday (Monday 5th August) to show support for residents in their stand against fracking. Protests have been ongoing since fracking company Cuadrilla began exploratory drilling just outside the West Sussex village.
In October 2012 Brighton & Hove Green councillors presented a successful motion to Full Council declaring the city a ‘no fracking zone’, citing examples of water contamination and earthquakes as a result of the practice.
Councillor Alex Phillips, who proposed the motion, said: “Hydraulic fracturing caused minor earthquakes in the Blackpool area. If that were to happen in Balcombe, it would have a devastating impact on the Brighton-London railway line and thousands of commuters.
“Fracking has also been linked to the contamination of local water sources – which is critical in places like Brighton & Hove where we rely on the one aquifer for all of our water.
“This government is stubbornly supporting fracking companies, even when local residents voice their opposition. No one fully understands the significant long- term impacts of fracking. We once again call on the government to end fracking in the UK and instead invest in green, renewable energy.“
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, also gave her full support:
“It was inspiring to see a local community displaying such determination to oppose a technology which has the potential to harm their local environment for decades to come, as well as undermine efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
“Many of the people I met were local residents who told me this was the first time they had taken part in a protest. They’ve been moved to take direct action because they’ve exhausted other means of making themselves heard.”
Read Caroline’s blog post Balcombe – why the Government must listen to the people
For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.
 Brighton & Hove City Council
Council 25 October 2012
Agenda Item 42(f)
NOTICE OF MOTION as agreed at full council
“This Council notes with concern the effects of unconventional shale gas extraction, namely the case of Blackpool where minor earthquakes followed as a result of drilling in the area. (1).
This activity has also been linked with the contamination of local water sources such as aquifers, which provide about 30% of the UK’s water. This puts both local communities who rely upon these water supplies, and the local environment at risk.
There are as yet no plans at present to extract gas in this way in Brighton and Hove – however Cuadrilla, an American company, has already gained planning permission to use hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ nearby in Balcombe, Sussex. This could have an unquantified detrimental impact on the surrounding area including our city, and there are fears that any subsequent earth tremors could be a threat to the crucial London to Brighton railway route.
Fracking uses massive volumes of water, 1 million gallons(1) for each frack, which is also of great concern in a region only recently taken out of drought conditions. Methane gas produced at drilling sites is a significant contributor to climate change – far more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
This Council also notes that the production of hard-to-reach fossil fuels is incompatible with efforts to achieve statutory UK carbon targets. A focus on gas extraction detracts from and delays investment in renewable energy sources.
The European Parliament is due to report shortly on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities. There is considerable concern across Europe with Bulgaria having banned it and moratoriums have been put in place in France, New South Wales and Westphalia (a German state). A citizens’ petition has also been initiated on the subject.
Further to the above, this Council:
– Asks Policy & Resources committee to resolve that Brighton and Hove should become a ‘frack-free’ zone;
– Asks the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment calling on him to impose a moratorium on onshore and offshore exploration, development and production of Coal Bed Methane, Shale Oil and Shale Gas, at least until a full independent environmental impact of the processes involved has been carried out;
– Calls on the Government to make it easier for co-operatives such as the Brighton Energy Co-op, housing associations and local authorities to generate their own renewable energy.”
Proposed by: Cllr Phillips Seconded by: Cllr Hawtree
Supported by: Cllrs Bowden, Buckley, Davey, Deane, Duncan, Follett, Jarrett,Jones, Kennedy, A Kitcat, J Kitcat, Littman, Mac Cafferty, Phillips, Powell, Rufus, Shanks, Sykes, Wakefield and West.