A leaflet has been delivered door-to-door asking people to give away confidential, personal information.
District councillor Susan Stedman (Horam) told the Express a leaflet about fracking has been delivered to households with no indication as to where it is from or how to contact the organisation concerned.
Horam Parish Clerk Janet Fairweather said she received one through her door and was told: ’One of your neighbours will visit you to collect it’ but no-one did. The leaflet asked recipients whether they wanted the area to be ‘toxin free,’ with boxes to tick ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘not sure.’ They were asked for their name and address.
Mrs Stedman went on: “Our concerns are nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of fracking. But I think this action is misleading and has tricked innocent people into giving their address and, worse, signature. These names could be added to any petition or form without the residents’ knowledge and the thought of identity theft is too awful to consider.”
A local resident visited Mrs Stedman saying a woman went round to every house and left the information and a form, telling residents she would return in a couple of days to collect them. She advised those who might not be in to leave them in or on their porches.
Mrs Stedman explained: “She assumed the leaflet had come from ‘the council’ and was upset she’d been missed out. I think people should be warned against giving this information without knowing precisely who might be receiving or seeing it. There are no contact or publisher details on the leaflet so there is no way anyone who genuinely wanted to find out more about fracking could do so.”
Words on the leaflet seem to indicate this is being distributed by an anti-fracking group as several paragraphs describe potential dangers, without any balancing views on the possible benefits of fracking, (hydraulic fracturing.)
They say air is polluted around sites, property values, insurance and mortgages could be affected and exploratory drilling has been shown to cause earthquakes.
Alarmingly, it says areas where there is development of shale oil and gas ‘see significant increases in drug dealing, sexual and violent crime and traffic fatalities’ - information apparently taken from an American website. Attached is a letter to the ‘British Medical Journal in March this year from ‘concerned professionals.’ Mrs Stedman concluded: “People have the right to make up their own minds about this subject but this seems a way to extract people’s names and address under false pretences.”
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