Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Fracking: Helen Grant challenged over Michael Fallon's comments

6th August 2013
Stuart Jeffery has challenged Helen Grant MP for Maidstone and the Weald to state her position on whether she supports fracking generally and whether she supports it in her Weald constituency after her Energy Minister colleague, Michael Fallon MP for Sevenoaks, announced that the would be more fracking in the Weald in Kent.

Stuart Jeffery: "I have written to Mrs Grant following her colleagues comments at the weekend when he stated that there would be fracking in Kent and in the Weald. The level of opposition to fracking is immense[1] and likely to increase, so as Mrs Grant is MP for a large part of the Weald in Kent, I think it is important that people know where she stands on this.

"The residents in Balcombe have been highly vocal about the fracking that is starting there, as have residents in Deal with the shale gas exploration at Woodnesborough.

"The Greens are at the forefront of the opposition of shale gas and have been supporting protestors in both Sussex and Kent."


1. YouGov survey published 02/08/13 found that 43% of people would oppose fracking locally compared to 26% who would support it: http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/hoirf26dxl/YG-Archive-Pol-Sunday-Times-results-020813.pdf

2. Letter text:

Dear Mrs Grant,

Your colleague, Michael Fallon MP and Energy Minister, has indicated that there will be further exploration of shale in the search for gas and that this will occur across the Weald including in Kent and by inference, your constituency.

As opponents of shale gas extraction we are deeply concerned about this prospect and therefore we seek your assurance that you will be discussing this matter with Mr Fallon and that you will oppose any exploration of shale or drilling for shale gas in your constituency.

Please can you confirm your position on the exploration and drilling for shale gas generally and also in your constituency.

Yours sincerely

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Don't Frack our Weald

4th August 2013
The "Don't Frack our Weald" call from Maidstone Greens comes after energy minister, Michael Fallon MP, let slip that fracking is likely to come to Kent for a second time. In the Mail on Sunday the Energy Minster stated[1]: "The second area being studied is the Weald. It's from Dorset all the way along through Hampshire, Sussex, East Sussex, West Sussex, all the way perhaps a bit into Surrey and even into my county of Kent".

Maidstone Greens have vowed to be at the front line opposing fracking when plans are submitted in the Borough given the environmental risks of ground water contamination, earthquakes and increasing climate change. Last week Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East warned that protest would spread as fracking sites are proposed[4].

Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: "Of course there is already exploration of the shale in Sandwich, near Deal but it is clear from the Energy Minister's comment that we can expect many more applications in Kent.

"Fracking contaminates the ground water by pumping millions of gallons of carcinogen laden water[2] in at high pressure, it causes earthquakes[2] and it releases fossil fuels that increase climate change. It must be stopped and we will be at the front line to stop it in Maidstone.

"The increased interest in shale gas is down to this government's new tax breaks and it is clear that once again, the Tories and Lib Dems have failed the country."

On Friday (2nd Aug), Keith Taylor Green MEP for the South East warned[4]: "These protests won’t just be contained to Sussex. This huge opposition to extreme energy will, without doubt, spread across the UK and challenge any attempts to bring fracking to the British countryside."

1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384191/Doomsday-alert-fracking-minister-warns-rectory-walls-quaking-Middle-England-drilling-continues.html
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/17/fracking-report-carcinogens-water-wells_n_850159.html
3. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/11/fracking-water-injection-major-earthquakes
4. http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/2013/08/02/cuadrilla-begins-drilling-in-balcombe/