The Government is bending over backwards to kickstart onshore oil and gas exploration in the UK, using hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
It claims this is good for jobs, the economy, energy security, and that environmental risks are low.
Evidence from other countries shows there are real environmental threats from fracking, even where there are decent regulatory systems, such as in Canada and Australia.
You also don’t have to look far to see plenty of analysis saying shale gas won’t reduce our bills.
Giving tax breaks for yet more fossil fuel extraction does nothing to help investor confidence in our renewable energy and energy conservation industries. These can provide many jobs at the same time as tackling climate change, yet all of this could be blown away by the Government’s flirtation with fracking.
We in our group are supporting those in Balcombe who don’t want drilling on their doorstep. We share their valid concerns. This is an issue that will soon face communities across the country.
Other companies are watching what happens with Cuadrilla here and in Lancashire. They are queuing up to test elsewhere.
Even we in the Eastbourne and Sussex Weald area are at risk, because the water quality of our rivers, reservoirs and aquifers is at great risk of pollution from the cumulative effects of the many fracking operations planned for our part of the world, starting with Balcombe.
What might seem like an isolated protest could soon spread across the country. Many in the Tory heartlands are questioning this latest Government direction.
This is not only economically and environmentally unsound, it could be politically fatal too.
We hope all our local MPs and councillors take heed of the legitimate concerns many people in Sussex have about fracking.
Co-ordinator, Eastbourne & District Friends of the Earth, Pevensey