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Bearder backs Sussex campaigners fight against fracking

Plans to continue extracting natural gas from sites in the South East using the 'fracking' technique were today criticised by Catherine Bearder MEP.

The Government has given the go-ahead to allow the controversial drilling method, as long as tighter controls are also introduced.

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas. The process sparked two earth tremors in Blackpool last year.

Catherine Bearder, a Lib Dem MEP for the South East, believed the risks were too great to allow drilling to continue.

She said: "It is clear we must invest in uncovering new forms of energy, but is it sensible to pursue a method which triggers earthquakes?

"But that's not the only negative: the fracking process uses a lot of water - not exactly something we can afford in the current climate.

"There is a raft of clean, green, sustainable and, importantly, safe forms of energy supply and we should invest our time in making them even more affordable.

"Let's not waste time with fracking."

Residents living near Balcombe, in West Sussex, have written to Catherine following concern over plans to drill in the area.

The Government-appointed panel has highlighted the potential for more quakes, but believed they will be too minor to cause any structural damage.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to publish a set of regulations following a six-week consultation period.

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