On 3 November, Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth gathered in West Street, Fareham - complete with ‘fracking rig’ and placards - to show their opposition to the goahead given by government for fracking in Lancashire against the will of the local people.
Fracking is incompatible with tackling climate change and it poses risks to the environment. In complete contrast, renewable energy and energy efficiency can provide energy security and more jobs.
Fracking forces gas or oil out of rocks by injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the rocks at very high pressure. It risks contamination of groundwater, poses dangers to public health, and it won’t help energy security or jobs.
Many people stopped to find out what was happening and many passers-by signed the petition at:
Proposed changes to the planning process include allowing drilling for gas as ‘permitted development’. This category was originally designed for minor home improvements like putting up a garden shed, not major drilling infrastructure.
It would mean that fracking companies could start drilling without the need for a planning application, environmental impact assessment or proper local democratic participation.
This would put all areas where shale licences exist – which includes parts of Hampshire and the South Downs national park – at immediate risk of fracking.
Gosport & Fareham Friends of the Earth’s coordinator Tim Pratt said: “We wanted to show the dedicated campaigners in Lancashire that they are not alone in being dismayed that fracking has started, against the wishes of local people and their elected representatives.
We were encouraged by the strength of opposition to fracking that we found in Fareham. The people of Fareham, and around the country, are saying loud and clear that the government's plans to pervert the planning process and force fracking on us are completely unacceptable.”