GREENPEACE anti-fracking campaigners set up a mock ‘Wrong Move’ estate agent roadshow in front of West Sussex County Hall.
They planted two four-metre flags outside the building, hung a ‘not for shale’ sign at the main entrance, and displayed a large map of Sussex showing the growing strength of opposition.
The intervention came just weeks before West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and the South Downs National Park Authority (NPA) are set to become the first authorities in years to decide drilling plans from fracking firms.
Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: “Sussex planning authorities are about to make a decision that will have huge repercussions not just for the county but for the rest of Britain, too.
“They can be the first to open the floodgates to a fracking frenzy, or the first to make a stand against an industry trying to bulldoze its way across our countryside.
“Thousands of people in Sussex are urging them to act responsibly to safeguard the wellbeing of our communities and our environment – they’ll ignore them at their peril.”
WSCC is set to decide Celtique Energie’s controversial plans for exploratory drilling between Wisborough Green and Kirdford and the NPA will debate another from Celtique for Nine Acre Copse at Fernhurst.
More than 5,000 Sussex residents have opposed fracking by signing up to a Greenpeace ‘legal block’ against drilling under their homes and a petition calling on David Cameron to ditch his shale gas plans.
In last Wednesday’s (June 4) Queen’s Speech, the government risked further enraging environmental campaigners and its own supporters when it announced changes to laws to make it easier to frack under people’s homes without their permission.
But the move is likely to be highly controversial, with the results of a poll carried out for Greenpeace published on Friday, finding 74 per cent of people opposed the move, including 73 per cent of Tory voters and 70 per cent of Lib Dem supporters.
Simon Clydesdale said: “The shale gas lobby and their political cheerleaders are hustling the country into taking a rash decision on something as controversial as fracking.
“But this survey shows people would like their political leaders to take the foot off the shale gas pedal and slam the brakes on this mad dash to frack.