Opinion – Are Greens the only party protecting Brighton and Hove from fracking?

In the face of thousands of objections, this week West Sussex county councillors voted to allow “investigative drilling” near Balcombe village.

Fossil-fuel firm Cuadrilla can now conduct invasive tests in the hunt for oil and gas reserves, laying the ground for fracking at the doorstep of communities who do not want it.

That decision has the potential to significantly affect our lives. The application includes a technique known as “acidising” which brings similar risks to fracking to our health and environment.

The Balcombe application is one of dozens across the south east which, if given consent, will leave areas like the Weald pockmarked with oil wells.

The potential damage includes leakage of toxic liquids – and Balcombe is too close to our water supply for comfort.

In Lancashire there has been chronic flooding of the Cuadrilla site and we cannot assume this won’t happen here, with potentially disastrous consequences for our water supply.

The relentless push from the Conservative government to back “unconventional” oil and gas across the UK has included legislation to allow investigative drilling, acidising and fracking even in our precious national parks.

The scientific consensus is clear – our pursuit of fossil fuels causes climate change.

It’s a no-win. We lose once in the destruction of our precious countryside and twice in refusing to avert climate chaos by keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

Just 13 per cent of the British public support fracking yet the Greens are the only party speaking climate sense.

In 2013 Greens secured the status of Brighton and Hove as a “no fracking zone”.

With a Labour Party silent and a Conservative Party complicit, we cannot assume they will stand up for people and planet, nor that our “frack free” status is not at risk.

Just as the cost of renewables is coming down, with more power in 2016 generated from the sun than coal, and Rampion windfarm providing energy on our shores, renewables should be what our future is made of, not the dirty fossil fuels of the past.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the convenor of the Green group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Leo Reply

    The greens are like verrucas; very hard to get rid of!

  2. Gerald Wiley Reply

    If Phelim could just get back to spending his valuable time acting as a councillor for residents of the city, rather than promoting Green Party doctrine.

    I assume this is in a desperate attempt to further his, failed, political career. Remember when he stood as Green Party candidate against Peter Kyle and, I recall, only just save his deposit.

    And wasn’t the city frack-free zone just a bit of pointless posturing for the clueless Jason Kitkat who didn’t understand that the local geology is not suitable for fracking anyway.

    Perhaps Phelim could also provide the source of his claim on the public view on fracking.

  3. Ian Reply

    Facts are important: the planning approval is to re-enter the Balcombe oil well and flow test it before plugging the well and restoring the land. There is no mention of new drilling. And there never has been an application for fracking at Balcombe.
    As to dozens of applications across the SE, I could find just three in west sussex, only one of which is for drilling, one is the testing referenced above and the other is continuation of existing production at Storrington. I found none for east sussex.
    Sounds like you are ignoring the truth in order to amplify your message. Trump does that too.

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