East Sussex: UK first Frack Free Zone?

In a move described as “historic” East Sussex County Council today passed a motion highlighting concerns over Fracking, the first county in England to do so.

The motion – adopted unanimously – emphasises public concern over Fracking and calls for the council to be properly briefed of the dangers before considering any future Fracking-related planning applications.

Campaigner Ben Johns said: “This is a first step towards a Frack Free Zone for East Sussex. We urge other councils around the country to join us on this historic path.”

The vote was received with cheers by residents from across Sussex. Some had travelled from Balcombe in West Sussex where ‘earthquake firm’ Cuadrilla  has a licence for exploratory Fracking.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry had called Conservative councillors before the meeting urging them to reject the motion.

Along with other companies, Cuadrilla have licenses to frack wells across the South Coast region from Dorset to Kent.

Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – involves injecting potentially millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into underground rock formations to shatter them and release gas.

Campaign Group Lewes Against Fracking said: “We welcome this motion and the signals it sends both to the public and to other councils throughout the country. Fracking is more than a perceived danger. It poses a genuine threat to drinking water and water supplies in general. There are also concerns for long term air pollution, long after the frackers have moved on.”

Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre (Lib Dem) who proposed the motion said after the vote: “I’m delighted. It’s fantastic. It’s not often that we all vote together, but this was important and it’s a great start.”

Members of Lewes Against Fracking are this week canoeing down the River Ouse to highlight how low water levels in the river are in this current drought and to give out information on Fracking explaining how it could blight the river.

Fracking pollution could not only harm the biodiversity of the Ouse Valley it could also compromise the water treatment plant in Balcombe, affecting up to 70,000 homes in Sussex.

The Fracking flotilla is expected to arrive in Lewes to a welcoming party on Cliffe Bridge between 4.00pm and 5.00pm on Friday 30th March. All are invited to watch them come and cheer them in. Tea and cake will be served.

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