Fracking fears remain in Hampshire despite council assurances

A fracking rig
A fracking rig
Picture: Paul Jacobs (142476-229) PPP-140824-032155001

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  • Hampshire County Council stresses there are no plans for fracking in the area
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FEARS remain over fracking coming to Hampshire, despite reassurances from the county council over the controversial industrial process.

Last night saw residents from Horndean, Rowlands Castle and Clanfield gather at the area’s latest community forum, in Merchistoun Hall, Horndean.

The council can say the boxes will be ticked and it’ll be safe but how can we be sure?

Peter Tipping, 75, of Horndean

Top of the agenda at the hour-long meeting was whether or not fracking would be coming to the county.

Speaking at the forum was Hampshire County Council’s head of strategic planning, Chris Murray, who stressed there were ‘no plans’ to bring the drilling to Hampshire.

‘There’s nothing on the horizon for this area,’ he said.

However, not all the residents were convinced, with some still fearful future fracking would hit the county.

Peter Tipping, 75, of Horndean, told The News: ‘We haven’t got any experience of fracking in this country.

‘Seeing what’s happened in the United States with their fracking sites is horrific.

‘We have heard of tens of thousands of sites in the States and there have been a lot of problems over there.

‘Whole lakes were wrecked and all the fish were killed.

‘So the council can say the boxes will be ticked and it’ll be safe, but how can we be sure?’

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock deep underground.

The process involves drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

Lisa Kirby-Hawkes, county council development planning manager, said stringent processes were in place on granting permission to frack.

She explained that even if a fracking licence had been granted, it did not mean the council had given planning permission for the extraction process to begin.

Likewise, Jane Longman, of the Environment Agency, said tough rules were in place designed to protect the area from potential pollutants.

‘You can be reassured that we have all the bases covered,’ she said at the meeting.

Hampshire has three active oil fields, including one near Horndean but no fracking sites.For more information about fracking, see www3.hants.gov.uk/mineralsandwaste