Following the announcement that energy firms will be granted new powers to enable them to carry out exploratory drilling under people’s homes without their permission, anti-fracking activists have gathered outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s Oxfordshire cottage.
The group of Greenpeace campaigners has sealed off the area with security fencing and put up a sign which says: “We apologise for any inconvenience we may cause while we frack under your home”.
The protestors also brought a cheque for £50 addressed to David Cameron, which represents the maximum compensation ministers have said should be provided to those affected by exploratory drilling.
‘Railroading [fracking] through with a ‘bungs and bulldozers’ approach’
Member of Greenpeace UK Simon Clydesdale said: “Cameron wants to rob people of their right to stop fracking firms drilling under their homes – surely he won’t mind if we kick off the under-house fracking revolution below his own garden.
“The Prime Minister is about to auction off over half of Britain to the frackers, including national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Cotswolds.
“Having failed to reassure people that fracking is safe or good for Britain, Cameron is now railroading it through with a ‘bungs and bulldozers’ approach.”
Back in march, Cameron defended his stance on fracking and said the process would be “good for our country”.
He stated that if properly implemented fracking could deliver “74,000 jobs, over £3bn of investment, give us cheaper energy for the future, and increase our energy security”.
He added that a lack of understanding about the extraction technique was the reason people opposed it.
Plans highlighted in Queen’s Speech
The Government’s plans to allow energy companies to drill beneath households without obtaining their prior consent were outlined in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.
Green MP Caroline Lucas, who protested against fracking in West Sussex, said the government was not taking public opinion into consideration when enforcing these measures.
What is fracking?
Fracking is a technique used to extract gas trapped underground. Also referred to as hydraulic fracturing, the process consists of pumping a mix of water and chemicals underground to release gas reserves.
In the USA, the technique led to a fall in energy prices of up to 40% in some areas, although due to the way in which the UK energy market works, it is unlikely the process could have a similar effect here. There are also concerns surrounding the possible contamination of water sources close to fracking sites.
Proponents of fracking argue that, if well managed, the process poses little or no risk. In addition, studies by both the Committee on Climate Change and the European Commission, concluded that shale gas extraction would produce fewer carbon emissions than importing certain types of energy.