Monday, 9 September 2013

East Kent Next Balcombe?

Kent Green Party and campaign group East Kent Against Fracking have joined forces to oppose planning applications for methane gas exploration in the former Kent coalfield.

The applications, submitted to KCC by Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, are for exploratory drilling at Shepherdswell, Tilmanstone and Guston (1), within the area of the Kentish Stour aquifer.

Thanet Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, said: “We totally oppose these plans. Exploratory drilling, possibly leading to full-blown fracking (2), is a serious threat to the Kentish Stour Aquifer, which supplies water to tens-of- thousands of homes in Ashford, Dover, Deal, Canterbury and Thanet (3).

“The Environment Agency is concerned about the sustainability and security of the Kentish Stour Aquifer (4) and countryside charity CPRE Protect Kent has warned that gas extraction from this area could result in the irreversible contamination of a major water supply source (5). Should exploration lead to gas extraction, we will also face the dangers of subsidence and  earth tremors, in an area already prone to seismic disturbances, the destruction of our countryside and atmospheric pollution, which has seriously affected human and animal health in Pennsylvania where this process has been allowed (6)”.

Green Party County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, said: “I am disappointed by KCC’s plans to rush through these applications (7). There are very complex associated issues. People, including KCC's own councillors and officers, need time to find out more, as reflected in some of the early optimistic and naive pronouncements from KCC. We will be working with East Kent Against Fracking to organise public meetings across East Kent to discuss and set out the issues and to mobilise opposition to the applications”.

To find out more about the public meetings visit our website  where will post dates, times and locations once finalised.

“If these applications are approved it’s highly likely that East Kent could become the next Balcombe, with residents understandably resisting this risky form of drilling.”


FURTHER INFORMATION: Ian Driver, County Press Officer, Kent Green Party: Tel: 07866 588766.

Promoted by Stuart Jeffery for Kent Green Party, 82 Buckland Road, Maidstone ME16 0SD

KENT GREEN NEWS, free ezine, is available by subscription at


(1)   The planning applications can be seen at

Coastal Oil and Gas already has KCC planning permission to conduct exploratory gas drilling at Woodnesborough nr. Sandwich (see

The granting of the 3 applications would mean that Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd could conduct exploratory drilling from 4 locations in the former Kent coalfield.

Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd is a 50% partner with Australian energy company Eden Energy; see

(2)   The extraction of coal-bed methane gas often involves the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of the coal seam. See article on World Coal Association website

(3)   See East Kent Stour Chalk Groundwater Final Report, The Environment Agency 2008 (attached to this e-mail)

(4)   See East Kent Stour Chalk Groundwater Final Report, The Environment Agency 2008 (attached to this e-mail)

(5)   See CRPE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) Briefing Note: Shale Gas Recovery (attached to this e-mail). For further information about this briefing note contact Graham Warren, Chair of CPRE - Protect Kent Environment Group on :01233 612 265


(7)   See planning applications pages listed in (1) above, which show target decision date as 15 November 2013

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