Arsenic with no grace: fracking campaign issues warnings

Environmental activists and Green party members, worried that engineers may soon be conducting experimental drilling for oil in Croydon, have formed the Frack Free Surrey campaign to co-ordinate and lead opposition to fracking.

One of the "danger" signs erected at the anti-fracking camp in Balcombe, warning of some of the poisonous substances which are associated with the process

One of the “danger” signs erected at the anti-fracking camp in Balcombe, warning of some of the poisonous substances which are associated with the process

As Inside Croydon was first to report earlier this month, the government has already granted licences granted for oil and gas exploration in Sutton, Croydon and elsewhere in Surrey.

This is despite fracking in the United States and Australia having caused demonstrable air and water pollution, and subsidence to land and properties, and is deeply unpopular with the communities it has damaged.

In southern England, the anti-fracking campaign has grabbed national headlines at exploratory works at Balcombe, in Sussex, where Green party MP Caroline Lucas was arrested during a peaceful demonstration earlier this month. The Balcombe drilling site is close to a large reservoir which supplies water to thousands of homes in the area.

According to Frack Free Surrey, “Fracking requires large amounts of energy and water to extract gas and oil from the ground, is unsustainable, and gives a false sense of energy security. The only people who want fracking are the oil companies that will profit from it.”

The practice has been banned in France and Germany until the governments there can be satisfied that the technology is safe. But the British government is allowing exploratory drilling to continue, with very little in the way of local planning restrictions.

The area covered by PEDL 45, allowing exploratory drilling

The area covered by PEDL licence 245, allowing exploratory drilling

In 2008, a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence, or PEDL, was granted to drill in Croydon. The area covered by PEDL licence 245 also encompasses Bromley, Sutton, Mitcham and Epsom. The licence is majority owned by Northdown Energy Limited.

Gordon Ross, a leading member of the Croydon and Sutton Green party, at the Balcombe roadside anti-fracking camp this week

Gordon Ross, a leading member of the Croydon and Sutton Green party, at the Balcombe roadside anti-fracking camp this week

Seismic tests were conducted in the area around Croydon earlier this year to assess the amount of “frackable” oil under the ground.

At present, Northdown Energy is focusing on the villages of Otford, Dunton Green, Shoreham, Eynsford and Knockholt for exploration.

Knockholt, located within the M25, is the closest site to Croydon.

Northdown’s exploration licence expires in July 2014, so they may need to take a look at sites closer to Croydon very soon.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to Arsenic with no grace: fracking campaign issues warnings

  1. My name is MIck J Clark, I am a singer song/writer. Movements are usually won if they are built around a song, I would love you to use my anti fracking charity song ‘We Will Never Surrender’ that was played at Balcombe. I am currently promoting my anti smoking charity song, ‘You Don’t Look Cool’, aimed at stopping kids before thay start smoking, and in the summer I was promoting my Help For Heroes song ‘Soldier Boy’, 800 hits on you tube. Good luck, we will win.

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