Monday, 24 November 2014

Residents petition Kent County Council to Keep Kent Frack Free

The Government is offering for sale licenses for onshore oil and gas exploration across the whole of Kent1. The licenses would allow extraction of fossil fuels by controversial and environmentally damaging methods including fracking, and coal bed gasification. But local residents are calling on Kent County Council to protect the countryside by ensuring that no oil or gas exploration is permitted in Kent.
A petition organized by Tim Valentine, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Faversham and Mid Kent at next year’s general election, will be submitted to Kent County Council at County Hall, Maidstone on Tuesday 25th November. The petition, signed by more than 2,800 people, demands that the Council should not permit oil and gas exploration in Kent because the industrial development of the countryside cannot be sustainable. Under Council procedures petitions with over 2500 signatures trigger a debate by a KCC committee.
Tim Valentine said: “Development of shale gas and oil would industrialize the Garden of England, and increase heavy goods traffic on Kent’s already-congested roads.  Production from wells is short-lived - so many wells must be drilled.  The industry uses massive quantities of clean drinking water but Kent’s water supplies are already severely stressed. It would produce large quantities of polluted water which cannot be disposed of safely. Development of shale gas will cause planning blight, and reduce the value of people’s homes. Instead of extracting more fossil fuels which damage our children’s future, Kent County Council should be encouraging renewable energy to meet our present needs”.
Martin Whybrow, Green Party councilor for Hythe, said: “This petition shows the huge concern among residents about this form of fossil fuel extraction. I do not feel that nearly enough consideration is being given to the strong evidence from around the globe that this is high risk. It is also clear that many experts feel it will have no impact on reducing residents’ energy bills. I also worry that there will be no ‘localism’ in the decision-making, with this pro-fracking government ready to steamroller through the applications, cheered on by energy companies and business speculators.”  
Notes:
1. New onshore licensing round opens https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-onshore-licensing-round-opens. A map of onshore licenses and prospective areas is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/map-of-onshore-licences-sea-areas-and-prospective-areas
2. It is planned to submit the petition at County Hall at 2pm on Tuesday 25th November.

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