Energy company Caudrilla has begun test drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex, in a possible precursor to “fracking” — drilling shale rock to extract gas for energy generation.
Local residents say they are “overwhelmingly against” the process and want their village to remain “frack free”. Climate activists have been protesting at the drilling site since the beginning of August, disrupting Caudrilla’s tests.
Fracking, which is now widely used in America, carries significant environmental risks. Potentially carcinogenic chemicals can escape from fracking sites and contaminate groundwater. Fracking has also been linked to increases in tremors and earthquakes.
From 16 August, a protest camp due to take place near West Burton gas power station in Retford, north Nottinghamshire, will also relocate to Balcombe. As part of the “No Dash For Gas” movement, campers will demand transitions away from fossil fuel-based energy generation rather than a rush to replace coal-fired power stations with gas-powered equivalents.
Workshops at the “Reclaim the Power” camp will include a discussion on the role of energy workers and unions in struggles for transitions, with speakers from transport union TSSA, the TUC, and activists involved in the Workers’ Climate Action network, a direct-action solidarity network that formed amongst climate and labour movement activists and was active between 2006 and 2010.
For more information, see nodashforgas.org.uk