What is Fracking?
Fracking is the process of drilling into the ground where they then inject fluids, consisting of water, sand and dangerous chemicals, to create a high pressure. This fractures the shale rocks and releases the natural gas inside.
Fracking in Balcombe
Since the protests began in July over one hundred protesters have been arrested in Balcombe, including Green MP Caroline Lucas. West Sussex County Council appeared in court to appeal for the removal of the protesters. However, the decision was over-ruled, despite the fact a week earlier protesters had been forcefully removed from their camp.
The demonstrators are concerned about the visual impact that the fracking will have on Balcombe and its surrounding areas. They have also voiced concerns about noise pollution and the effect it will have on their day-to-day lives.
Although majority of demonstrators are locals protesting the fracking, there are also some Balcombe residents that are pro fracking. The locals in favour for the fracking believe that Britain’s oil and shale gas should be exploited for use. At least sixty residents have joined a campaign in favour of fracking.
Villagers have claimed: “We deplore the abuse suffered by employees of the drilling company and the police, extended trespass, and the establishment of a semi-permanent processed camp which add up to an abuse of the undoubted rights to peaceful protest.”
Negatives of Fracking
Recently, fracking has caused an uproar of protest. Regardless, the money hungry company Cuadrilla continues to frack in Balcombe. It is easy to understand why these protesters are so furious. Fracking is responsible for a number of environmental issues: firstly, the initial damage at the actual site. Where they drill into the ground, wildlife on the surface is cleared and many habitats are damaged. The chemicals that they pump in to the ground are left after all the oil is exploited, contaminating our aquifers from which we extract drinking water. The worst part is, the chemicals are non biodegradable. This has resulted in methane concentrations (a powerful greenhouse gas) being up to 17x higher in drinking water wells nearby the sites.
Fracking produces approximately 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day. We should be questioning where all this natural gas goes. The truth is, energy hungry companies do not regard the environment as a priority: they burn natural gas to create energy for human use. The toxins they release consist of powerful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. These are the kind of gases that contribute the global warming, as they reflect heat back in to the atmosphere. This alters our ecosystems drastically, which has been an increasingly pressing issue in recent years. We need to change our energy use so that the demand changes to greener energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines. The decision is ultimately down to us.
Positives of Fracking
There are many pros regarding Fracking. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to use any natural resources, but c’mon, lets be practical here. As well as that Alex Salmond and his Scottish cronnies have caused a much-heated debate over Scottish independence, and the only real reason we need Scotland is the North sea Oil supply. Maybe with Fracking we won’t rely on them so much, and they can have their independence. Given the recent economic circumstances, Great Britain is in need of economic stimulation and this would be a brilliant way of producing more jobs, (the natural gas industry employs 1.3 million in the U.S alone) and with many struggling to earn a living, we can’t prevent people from trying to get by in these hard times. We have a low supply of resources as it is, and without more this country won’t function.
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