FRACK Free Fernhurst (FFF) campaigners have criticised a ‘very narrow’ study by the water industry which, claims the government, has concluded ‘fracking’ for shale gas is safe.
UK Water Industry Research, a research body set up by water companies, is to release its report by the end of the year.
But one of FFF’s campaign leaders Martyn Knights told the Observer: “This report is very narrow in scope and offers no new scientific evidence. Its conclusions are tentative at best and dangerously meaningless at worst.
“It should be noted that water extracted from the South Downs National Park area supplies 1.2 million people in the south of England.
“Fracking would create unwelcome additional demands on our facilities to supply fresh water and to process polluted waste water.”
Many opponents fear water used in the process could be contaminated and enter domestic supplies.
Meanwhile a plan for an exploratory well on the borders of Kirdford and Wisborough Green has been submitted to West Sussex County Council and a second plan from Celtique Energy for Nine Acre Copse at Fernhurst is expected soon.
Energy minister Michael Fallon has said shale gas exploration could soon take place in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent as well as Sussex adding: “There are genuine concerns, but there are also myths and we are tackling them.”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change said the report would conclude the process of extracting shale gas from rock would not contaminate the water supply.
A spokesman for Water UK said: “There are risks. But they’re risks we feel could be mitigated.”