Frack Free Fernhurst launches campaign against village proposal

The metal gate across the rural lane is the access to the proposed fracking site
The metal gate across the rural lane is the access to the proposed fracking site

AROUND 200 people packed Fernhurst Village Hall last night (Monday, July 1) to voice their concerns over fracking plans.

The meeting was called by the Frack Free Fernhurst campaign formed to fight Celtique Energie’s proposals for an exploration well at Nine Acre Copse on the edge of Fernhurst.

Campaign leaders Marcus Adams and John Buchanan outlined their actions so far setting up their website and twitter account as well as contacting neighbouring parishes and starting to fundraise.

They urged villagers to volunteer expertise in law, planning and other areas to help the fight.

They outlined the traffic implications of huge lorries on the narrow rural lanes both at the construction phase and bigger problems later with even more lorries transporting any gas or oil away from the site.

Mr Buchanan warned of air and ground water pollution and of the noise and light pollution as well as possible earth tremors on the rural site in the South Downs National Park.

And quoting expert studies he said: “It may not be possible fully to restore sites in sensitive areas.”

It had become clear, he said, there was more than one set of rules governing fracking in Britain overseen by the health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and even the national park.

“There are gaps and overlaps,” he told the packed hall “ and these provide opportunities for companies to exploit them.

“We are at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.”

There were new government incentives to dissuade objectors in proposed fracking areas, said Mr Buchanan, one of which was government funding of up to £100,000 promised for community projects.

“I find it rather it rather insulting that politicians think communities can be bought off like that.”

Full story in Thursday’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer out on July 4