The ban on fracking was lifted in May and energy company Cuadrilla has since begun exploratory drilling in West Sussex, where a number of protesters have gathered in an attempt to stop proceedings.
According to the Telegraph, up to a thousand campaigners are set to protest in Balcombe, the village closest to the drilling site. At present 40 tents have been put up and close to 30 people have been arrested for trying to stop lorries entering the site.
‘We feel bullied by the oil and gas industry’
Balcombe resident Kathryn McWhirter, said: “We are horrified, the village is gobsmacked. We feel bullied by the oil and gas industry and government at all levels from parish council right up to Cabinet Office. We are a tiny village in West Sussex. What say have we got?”
A spokesperson for the energy company said: “Cuadrilla can confirm that it has commenced test drilling at the Balcombe site. We have full planning and regulatory approval for this work from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, West Sussex County Council, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.”
‘A real tragedy for Britain’ to miss out on shale reserves
Chancellor George Osbourne recently spoke out in favour of fracking and called the process part of an “energy revolution”. He pointed out that both China and the USA had profited enormously due to reduced energy costs.
Speaking on the issue he said: “I want to see that kind of thing in Britain. I want to see families with lower energy bills.
“The Conservative party understands you have to balance your policy, but the new regime for fracking has very clear community benefit so we have designed a regime that is very generous for local communities where this activity might take place.
“It would be a real tragedy for Britain to allow this energy revolution to bypass our country. It would mean we would have much higher energy costs than other countries, it would mean jobs would go to other countries and we would lose out.”