Campaign over fracking steps up at meeting

Tim Dawes leader of Green Party in Havant addresses a public meeting of Solent Fracking Awareness.
Tim Dawes leader of Green Party in Havant addresses a public meeting of Solent Fracking Awareness.
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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FEARS over possible fracking in the Havant area united residents at a meeting.

Passions ran high as around 80 residents gathered at the Solent Fracking Awareness public meeting at St Faith’s Church, in The Pallant, Havant last night.

Top of the agenda was safety fears over any fracking at land off Hulbert Road, Leigh Park.

Jen Randall, 31, of Bedhampton set up the awareness group after she read up about potential contamination of water following the controversial gas extraction process, hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

She spoke to residents at the meeting, which was attended by activists from Balcombe, in Sussex, where exploratory drilling is being carried out.

She said: ‘I started this group because I couldn’t believe people weren’t aware this was potentially going to happen to us.

‘They’re talking about fracking at the South Downs National Park, but they’re also talking about fracking under people’s houses in Leigh Park.’

She added energy companies want to do exploratory work at Hulbert Road and she fears it will mean drilling below the road and under people’s houses.

As previously reported, licences have been issued at two sites in the area, Forest Side, near Rowlands Castle, and at Hulbert Road, Leigh Park.

The meeting heard the licence at Leigh Park had lapsed but could be reapplied for.

At the meeting questions were raised over who was to benefit from fracking and activists from Balcombe called for direct action.

Merle Bucket, 66, of Boundary Way, in Havant, was furious.

She said: ‘It will affect 60,000 people at least in Warren Park alone, more than that probably.

‘We’re talking about the 24-hour noise, going in with lorries to take it in and take it away. They don’t tell you there’s going to be a flame up in the air all the time.

‘Leigh Park was put there after the [war] bombing... they never gave people facilities then, now they’re going to attack one of the lowest-paid areas and a lot of people don’t know about it.’

Hampshire county councillor and Havant ward member for St Faith’s Cllr Ray Bolton attended.

He said: ‘Hampshire as the planning authority, is serious about its responsibilities.’