Experts debate pros and cons of fracking at All Saints Centre in Lewes

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The battle of the professors will take place in Lewes on Sunday (October 6) when two experts cross swords over the fracking controversy.

They are Professor James Woudhuysen of De Montfort University will speak in favour and Professor David Smythe of Glasgow University will speak against.

The debate at the All Saints Centre (7-9pm) has been organised by Lewes Energy Information Group.

Fracking – hydraulic fracturing – is a technique for extracting natural gas and oil from deep underground.

Test drilling in Lancashire caused earthquakes in 2012 and a temporary moratorium was announced by the UK government while an enquiry was held. Recently the all-clear was given and a go-ahead for further test drilling.

Opponents fear some sites near Lewes, at Ringmer, Southease and Beddingham, which were drilled decades ago may be re-activated.

The industry argument in favour of fracking is that it will provide a cheap source of domestic energy with lower greenhouse gas emissions than existing energy sources.

Concerns expressed by opponents include the contamination of ground water, spillages of harmful chemicals, the adverse climate change impact arising from methane gas emissions and the disruption caused by frequent truck deliveries to and from a site.