County Councillor: West Sussex must ban fracking

In a strongly worded letter to the Mid Sussex Times, West Sussex County Councillor Anne Hall argues that county authorities must be proactive and ban fracking.

Hall argues that West Sussex County Council has been “complacent” on fracking. She states that earthquakes risks have been ignored and the council has effectively outsourced decision making to central government.

She also criticises council leaders for avoiding responsibility. “Lionel Barnard (WSCC deputy leader) states that forthcoming applications would not be supported if there were any uncertainty. He does not give any indication as to what can be done,” she writes. “Will WSCC leave the decision to proceed with fracking on this site to other regulators?”

“I believe that the council has a duty to its residents to be more proactive in this decision and not just to sit back and see what others decide.”

Meanwhile Balcombe Parish Council continues to show exactly the failures of leadership that Councillor Hall points out. BPC seems determined to avoid taking a stance on the issue, perhaps because one of its own number is millionaire Simon Greenwood, which owns the land on which fracking is scheduled to take place.

The Parish Council has convened a working group to examine the benefits and risks of fracking. Copies of this report will be made available to the residents of Balcombe (who are obviously, in BPC’s eyes, unable to perform research themselves). The council will then decide how best to represent their constituents, based on these views.

Exactly what democratic process will be used to assess local opinion is unclear. Currently BPC risks being lost in a procedural miasma which will result simply in the continuation of its current policy: do nothing.

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2 Responses to County Councillor: West Sussex must ban fracking

  1. j gordon says:

    The above says it all. BPC and all of Balcombe’s resdents should be doing everything in their power to stop Cuadrilla; campaign and get local towns villages around to help. The Scotts have managed to stall Dart in Airth. Sussex must to do the same.

  2. Excellent piece in ‘Rolling Stone’. The problem is not just with the dodgy technology, but with the inevitable accidents:
    ‘The problem with all sophisticated technology, of course, is that things inevitably go wrong. Last April, a Chesapeake well in Bradford County suffered a massive blowout. It was the onshore, natural gas version of what happened to BP in the Gulf two years ago: A wellhead flange failed, and toxic water gushed uncontrollably from the well for several days before workers were able to bring it under control. Seven families were evacuated from their homes as 10,000 gallons of fracking fluid spilled into surrounding pastures and streams. Pennsylvania fined the company $250,000 ā€“ the highest penalty allowed under state law.

    Well failures, in fact, are fairly common at drilling sites. I ask Anthony Ingraffea, an engineering professor at Cornell University and a former consultant for oil-service firms, to look at the 141 violations levied against Chesapeake in Pennsylvania last year. According to Ingraffea, 24 of them involved failures of well integrity. “When a well loses integrity, it means the seal is broken and something ā€“ usually methane, but it could also be flowback water ā€“ is leaking out underground,” he says. “And it’s impossible to know where it is going, or in what amounts.”

    Read more:

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