MEP rallies against shale gas drilling in Fernhurst

MEP Keith Taylor, anti fracking campaigner
MEP Keith Taylor, anti fracking campaigner

One of South East England’s MEPs has called on the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) to block exploratory drilling that could lead to fracking.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England, has written to the national park authority expressing his concern about the plan by Celtique Energy to begin exploratory drilling in the Fernhurst area.

Mr Taylor, a leading anti-fracking campaigner, is objecting to the planning application on the grounds that there would be unacceptable adverse impacts on the local environment. it is incompatible with the need for planning to reduce climate change emissions. it contravenes the statutory purposes of the national park.

Mr Taylor, whose constituency also includes Balcombe, where anti-fracking protests took place last year, said: “It’s very worrying Celitique Energy plans to dig an exploratory well in Fernhurst, and that there’s the potential for fracking to take place there, given all the risks associated with this controversial technology.

“We know fracking poses serious environmental risks, including air and soil pollution, and threatens already overstretched water resources. It makes a mockery of the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change. And it won’t even help bring energy prices down.

“The ‘Greens’ are completely against any shale gas exploitation. We need to heed the warnings and follow the examples of several other European countries, such as France, who have banned fracking completely. Last week I travelled to Poland to hear about the experiences of campaigners opposing fracking in their communities. We should learn from other countries’ experiences, not blindly rush to make the same mistakes.”

Mr Taylor, who has met with anti-fracking campaigners in both Poland and Pennsylvania, said:

“I’ve seen first hand the damage fracking can do to communities and I’m standing with the people of Fernhurst in opposing any steps towards carving up their countryside in the reckless dash for gas.”