We are disgusted that drilling has started. We feel totally bullied by the oil and gas industry, by government at all levels from parish council right up to Cabinet Office. We are invaded by police, buzzing with helicopters.
Cuadrilla have been allowed to start drilling while still waiting for permissions for radioactive waste, for toxic flares, and with no hope of finishing the work before their planning permission runs out next month.
Government agencies are in a great hurry to deny us our rights to clean water, clean air, and a peaceful rural existence. It seems clear to us that the Environment Agency did not properly consider the public responses to previous permit requests – they brushed aside hundreds of detailed, informed public objections within three days. We have no confidence in these people who are supposed to protect us, and regulate this industry.
We feel betrayed by the police, who have repeatedly closed our road and formed military-style guards of honour, 70 officers strong, to escort Cuadrilla vehicles into the site.
We are a small commuter village where the latest survey puts those against this oil industry invasion at over 90%.
Our resources are limited. Yes, there are some activists at the site who have protested previously on other ecological matters – they have expertise which we don’t. They are completely committed to opposing fracking for gas and oil. They are working with us. We have been at the site protesting, offering donations and support. But most villagers are not keen to take a midsummer holiday in a police cell, risking jobs and forsaking care commitments. We give profound thanks to those who have come from outside the village to help us in our protest – from elsewhere in Sussex, Lancashire, Somerset, Wales... other communities that are in the fracking line.
It is of huge national importance that we all stand up against this dangerous coalition of the petrochemical industry with our Government. Reader, fracking really is coming to a field near you.
Balcombe needs YOU. Please come and help us, everyone out there. Our fight is not over.
Charles & Kathryn Metcalfe
No Fracking in Balcombe Society