Anti-fracking campaigners in Balcombe, a village in West Sussex, are protesting energy company Cuadrilla’s plans to begin drilling in the area.
Cuadrilla is planning to drill a 914m well and 762m horizontal bore close to the village. There are fears that the developments will lead to fracking being carried out in the future.
No plans to carry out fracking at present
Speaking on the project, Matt Lambert, a spokesperson for Cuadrilla said: “We are not hydraulically fracturing at this stage. We are looking for oil, not gas, and it’s not shale, it’s limestone effectively.
“What we will be doing is drilling a vertical well and then a lateral well into the limestone seeing if the oil will flow and testing the geology, bringing up rock samples and looking at those rock samples and any oil that we find.”
Events to date have resulted in close to 20 arrests and have postponed the project. A number of celebrity protesters have also become involved including Bianca Jagger, former wife of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and former Page 3 model Marina Pepper.
‘The Government will not protect us, so we will protect ourselves’
A number of anti-fracking campaigners in other areas of the UK have spoken out against Cudrilla’s plans and warned that they will also stage protests should energy companies try to carry out similar initiatives in their areas.
Tina Rothery of Residents Action on Flyde Fracking, said: “If anything we have learned from the protests at Balcombe and will help us to be more effective.
“The Government will not protect us, so we will protect ourselves. Anywhere in the country will fight to protect their water and air.”
Andrew Ogden of the Campaign to Protect Rural England in Kent, agreed: “I think people will do the same once the lorries start coming in where the drilling is likely to happen.”
To date DECC has issued 176 licences to companies looking to uncover onshore oil and gas sources in Britain.
A controversial process
Fracking remains a controversial process with many alleging that it can lead to tremors and contaminate drinking water.
A number of high profile politicians have spoken in favour of fracking, including Boris Johnson who labelled the process the best solution to tackling energy shortages.