By Laurie Temple

Don’t Frack with Sussex, organised a successful and good humoured, Halloweenesque anti-fracking protest, outside Barclays bank, in Hastings, as part of a nationwide campaign. Barclays, have a 97% stake in the company, Third Energy, who are set to start fracking in the pristine area of Ryedale, North Yorkshire, despite the objections of several thousand of the local community.

In keeping with recent Conservative government policies, which have drastically withdrawn support from the renewable energy industry, UK Oil and Gas have just applied for a license to drill for oil in Markwells Wood, West Sussex, in the South Downs National Park, for the next 20 years. They want to drill for Tight oil, a similar process to fracking, but it will take a lot of energy to release it and that means devastating emissions, before even a drop of oil comes out of the ground!

This project will drill through a vital source of water that brings drinking water to the surrounding Sussex area, using a procedure that involves acid and chemical injection. It will pose a significant risk to the environment, with heavily increased emissions, noise and heavy traffic.

Suffice it to say, that sound evidence shows that fracking does not provide cheaper energy, but does cause significant negative health impacts on the population and a detrimental effect on the environment. Also, as gas and oil are fossil fuels, extracting it from the ground will mean going against the pledges made by the UK, at the Paris summit, to keep global warming down to below the 2°C limit. The planet is at it the tipping point of irreversible catastrophic global warming if we do not immediately substitute fossil fuel energy for renewable energy.

Lord Smith, the former chair of the Environment Agency, the main regulator of fracking in England, said “the biggest environmental risk is groundwater contamination.” Despite all their Green pledges, this government has drastically withdrawn support from the renewable sector and is re-investing in fossil fuels, satisfying the insatiable greed of corporate multinationals. Despite hollow reassurances of safety regulation, evidence from the USA illustrates an accident- prone failure rate of up to 9%, in newly drilled gas shale wells.

You can let Barclays know your complaint about their wholehearted support of fracking, by going to: www.foe.co.uk/go/Barclays (You might also consider switching banks. They are very sensitive about losing business!)

For further information, you could go to the local websites of: FrackFree Sussex, Fossil Free Hastings and the national websites of Friends of The Earth and Greenpeace.