FEARS that fracking could result in the industrialisation of Sussex have been voiced by the chief executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Dr Tony Whitbread.
“We have therefore had to think carefully about what this could mean to Sussex wildlife.”
He added: “Sussex is still a rural county, with a diverse landscape and a rich wildlife.
“Fracking could result in the industrialisation of Sussex.
“Perhaps a more significant threat, however, is that we are all being diverted.
“At a time when we should be talking about more modern alternative energy sources – renewables – we are instead wasting time discussing a carbon-based fuel which, if we are to prevent catastrophic climate change, should remain in the ground.”
Arguments in favour of fracking included, he said, the economic benefits a new energy source might bring against the claimed relatively-low environmental impact of gas extraction.
It was also stated that fracking provided a good bridging fuel between fossil fuels and low-carbon energy.
But, said Dr Whitbread, claims were questionable.
The process used large amounts of water and the effect on rivers, underground aquifers and wetland habitats was a concern.
“Waste water from fracking also needed to be treated to prevent ecological damage from pollution.
“The flaring of waste gas could also impact on wildlife.”
He said it would require strong regulation. “There is no evidence government will increase the capacity of regulators like the Environment Agency to oversee it, the opposite seems to be the case.”