CAMPAIGNERS have sent frackers a clear message: ‘You’re not welcome here’.
Environmentalists gathered in Emsworth and spoke to members of the public about why they think fracking is dangerous and should not be developed in Hampshire and West Sussex.
As reported, there are several areas earmarked for possible oil and gas exploration around Havant, Horndean, Hambledon, and Chichester and campaigners fear fracking will one day be developed. The process involves pumping chemical-laden water deep into the ground to fracture ancient rocks and extract shale gas.
Campaigners are worried about the dangers of water contamination, particularly in the South Downs, which is known for its spring water.
People have collected scores of red cards – saying ‘The Fracking Word is a Dirty Word’ – and will send these to Councillor Roy Perry, the leader of Hampshire County Council.
The authority is the first rung of the planning process and will decide whether to give companies exploratory licences.
Sue Holt, 62, joint co-ordinator for Havant Friends of the Earth, who lives on Hayling Island, said: ‘People want to know more and feel as if it’s being sneaked in, almost.
‘The fracking process is very new technology to force water and chemicals very deep underground and abstract very little in the way of gas or oil.
‘It’s a dirty fuel and adds to the carbon and environmental destruction around these areas.
‘People seem to be happy to have flares around the countryside and not white windmills – I don’t understand it.
Living on an island surrounded by water, Mrs Holt said more money needs to be spent developing renewables.
She said: ‘Why take risks with this kind of desperation, wanting to wring the earth dry of every possible natural resource?’
Lene Hatch, 62, from Cowplain, came down to support the campaigners.
She said: ‘I’m against fracking because we are using enough fossil fuels at the moment and we have plenty of renewable energy.
‘Money should be spent on this rather than going into the old things like coal and oil.
‘I’m very worried about all these chemicals being pushed into the Earth. They have got to go somewhere.’