VIDEO: Celtique boss and MP talk fracking in Wisborough Green

ANTI-fracking campaigners are turning up the heat as planners prepare to debate exploratory drilling plans at Fernhurst and on the edge of Wisborough Green and Kirdford.

The Midhurst and Petworth area has become the fracking focus of the country, with Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green (KKWG) campaigners warning ‘If it is allowed here, nowhere in Great Britain is safe’.

Villagers at the packed public meeting listening to MP Nick Herbert CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Villagers at the packed public meeting listening to MP Nick Herbert CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

KKWG campaigners have accused Mr Davies of stonewalling their questions at a public meeting on Friday (January 31) where campaigners had gathered to voice their concerns.

MPs Andrew Tyrie and Nick Herbert have this week entered the debate, telling their voters they will not oppose fracking but have concerns 
about the proposed sites in their constituencies.

After the Wisborough Green meeting on Friday, KKWG critised Celtique top officer Mr Davies, asking: “Is he a pantomime villain or shrewd and calculated PR?’

“There was very little time for expressions from the floor.

“The questions directly addressed to Mr Davies were answered with gobbledegook or he completely aimed to mislead the audience.”

Mr Davies faced a room packed with nearly 200 people who booed when MP Nick Herbert thanked him for attending.

And there was high-profile opposition led by television star James Bolam, clearly angered by Mr Davies’ response to questions, asking: “What’s it going to be like when all these wells use millions of gallons of water and millions of gallons of waste come out which are declared nuclear waste – where are you going to put it all?”

Resident Brian Smith echoed the sentiments of many when he said: “The one person many of us have come to hear is Mr Davies, from Celtique.

“What a pity he hasn’t given us a presentation.”

When asked about lorry movements in and out of the drill site, Mr Davies did not specify how long such traffic would last, though he did say initial stages of the application could last for around two to three months, which was met with jeers from the audience.

Mr Davies admitted his ten-year-old company had no experience in fracking when Milland parish councillor John Bird asked him: “Has Celtique actually fracked anywhere?”

He replied: “We have not engineered any hydraulic fracturing in any well, but our engineers have experience off shore.”

Actress Susan Jameson raised concerns about protestors at the drilling site and asked: “Are the emergency services ready?”

Chief Inspector Jones told her: “There is a contingency plan for nearly everything that could happen. We are not there to stop protestors – people are within their rights to stage a peaceful protest.”

Chairing the meeting, which included members from the county council, Environment Agency and the police, Cllr Josef Ransley warned: “Some members of the panel are not able to answer specific questions, or give presentations on 
the current application to avoid pre-determining their role in decision-making.”

Celtique Energie’s Wisborough Green plan is expected to go before the county council in April.

See the full feature in this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (February 6).