Report reveals shale oil could lie under Weald Basin

Actress Susan Jameson  joins the protestors at Wisborough Green.'''Picture by Louise Adams C140199-2
Actress Susan Jameson joins the protestors at Wisborough Green.'''Picture by Louise Adams C140199-2

A REPORT published today by the British Geological Survey (BGS) has revealed there could be up to 8.57 billion barrels of shale oil under southern England.

The long-awaited report, published today (May 23), looks into oil potential in the Weald Basin which stretches over Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.

The BGS estimates there are between 2.2 billion and 8.6 billion barrels of shale oil in the Weald Basin - that covers areas including Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent - but says there is “no significant gas resource”.

Campaigners fear that getting the oil out of the ground could involve the controversial process known as fracking.

Reacting to the report, Friends of the Earth’s South East Regional campaigner Brenda Pollack said: “These latest estimates will set alarm bells ringing across the South East of England where fracking firms seem intent on punching holes in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside in the search for profits.

“No wonder the Government waited until after the elections to make this announcement as Lord Howell recently warned that fracking will cost the Tories thousands of votes in their heartlands.

“Shale oil and gas are not the solution to the UK’s energy challenges. Rather than drilling for more dirty fossil fuels that will add to climate change, the Government should be backing renewable power and energy efficiency.”

Meanwhile, the UK government has proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’.

It proposes that shale oil and gas companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface, and also suggests firms pay £20,000 per well to those living above the land.

The Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green group (KKWG) will next week be hosting an information session.

Actress Sue Jameson will host the event in Wisborough Green Village Hall on Friday. May 30 from 7pm-9.30pm.

In attendance at the meeting will be geologist John Diggens, who has worked in the oil/gas industry in the US, Russia and the UK.

Martin Small will be talking on landscape and Sue Taylor, a resident from Balcombe, will talk about the ‘actual impacts on a community’.

For more, see next week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (May 29).