Thursday, 8 August 2013


Green Party Councillor Ian Driver, has accused Thanet South MP, Laura Sandys of being “fracking clueless”,  about plans to explore for shale gas in her constituency.

Said Driver “I contacted my MP Laura Sandys, on Tuesday 6th August   to ask her opinion about  fracking. Because she is promoting a “Grand Green Isle” vision for Thanet, which I support,  I wanted to find out what she thought about plans for exploring for shale gas  in her constituency which might lead on to fracking”.

“Laura replied to me on Wednesday 7th July saying there is no fracking in south thanet and no licence or application.  Two year ago there was an exploration bore hole which found no shale reserves in the area so no local issue at all”.

“ I was extremely surprised by her reply which  was both  dismissive and factually incorrect”.

“Coastal Oil and Gas Limited hold 4 current licences granted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to explore for shale gas in Laura Sandy’s constituency (1) . Her claim about the bore hole is also wrong. Coastal Oil and Gas were granted planning permission by KCC in December 2011 to drill test bore holes to explore for gas at Woodnesborough. I have checked with KCC and the company has not yet commenced any drilling work (2)”.

“I am at a loss to understand how an MP who claims  to have green credentials and who supports a “Grand Green Thanet Isle”, can be so fracking clueless about what is happening in her own backyard, especially something as important as fracking which more and more people are  become concerned and worried about.”

“The Green Party is the only major UK poltical party to oppose fracking (3). We will be actively opposing and campaigning against  fracking in Laura Sandys Thanet South constituency and anywhere else that this dangerous and damaging method of gas extraction takes place”.

“We challenge  Laura Sandys to publically state where she stands on this issue. Her constituents, who are very likely to be effected by fracking, have a right to know”


For more information contact Councillor Ian Driver on 07866588766


(1)   The licence holders include Northdown Energy Ltd which has been given permission  to explore an area taking in Bromley, Orpington and Swanley.  Star Energy Weald Basin Ltd which is  licensed to explore the Westerham area. Cuadrilla around Edenbridge and Tunbridge Wells.  Midmar Energy around the Tonbridge area  and Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd around Dover, Deal, Sandwich and southern Thanet.

 Maps showing the DECC licenced exploration areas  can be found at  the DECC website

A better map can be found at the campaign  group “Frack Off” website

 This map also has hyperlinks to the individual  DECC exploration licences and the companies involved.

(2)   The Kent County Council Planning Permission for Coastal Oil and Gas to drill test bore holes in Laura Sandys constituency is here



(3)   Green Party Energy Policy EN705 The Green party seeks to put a moratorium on all onshore and offshore exploration, development, and production of Coal Bed methane, Oil shale and Shale Gas, and calls for UK licences to be withdrawn in a way that is environmentally responsible. A stronger scientific insight into the safety and environmental impact of these techniques is needed. The Green Party is opposed to hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") methods of extracting oil and gas from conventional and unconventional wells. Whilst these practices continue, the Green Party will strive to minimise their potential impacts, particularly those  on human and animal health, the environment (including Greenhouse gas emissions), and the countryside. As part of this commitment, the Green party will strive to ensure that there are UK regulations governing the industry's activities, and that these are the most appropriate to cover all the potential risks that have been raised with similar operations

Exchange of e-mails between Cllr Driver and Laura Sandys

Dear ian
There is no fracking in south thanet and no licence or application.  Two year ago there was an exploration bore hole which found no shale reserves in the area so no local issue at all.
Very best wishes Laura

On 6 Aug 2013, at 23:26, "Ian Driver" <>> wrote:

Dear Ms Sandys, Your colleague, Michael Fallon MP and Energy Minister, has indicated that there will be further exploration of shale in the search for gas and that this will occur across the Weald including in Kent and by inference, your constituency. I am aware that Coastal Oil and Gas Limited have a  Department of Energy and Climate Change licence to explore for shale gas in your constituency  and that  Kent County Council has already given planning permission for Coastal Oil and Gas Limited  to drill test shale gas bore holes at Woodnesborough  near Sandwich in your  constituency.

As an opponent of shale gas extraction I am deeply concerned about this prospect and therefore  seek your assurance that you will be discussing this matter with Mr Fallon and that you will oppose any exploration of shale or drilling for shale gas in your constituency. I note your  published vision to transform Thanet into a "Grand Green Isle". This is a vision I share too. I sincerely hope that your publically stated  commitment to greening Thanet will extend to opposing fracking as well.

Please can you confirm your position on the exploration and drilling for shale gas generally and also in your constituency.

Yours sincerely
Councillor Ian Driver
Green Party


  1. Very concerned when in the main the water supply for Thanet comes from underground sources. Who can predict with 100% certainty that there will be not even the remotest chance of contamination? Might be a different matter for those being supplied from Kielder water, where the massive size of the reserve allows sampling and treatment (if that is possible)ahead of consumption. £ rules UK again I fear.

  2. I have watched with horror all these wind farms being stabbed into our land and sea huge amounts of money being handed to these foreign operators for something that is not reliable as they spent huge amounts of time not working having spent most of my working life on the sea in fishing boats lifeboats and dredgers it brings home the power of the tides always there always predictable the whole of the sea from here to France and from the surface to the sea bed moves up and down the channel as regular as the moon 3000 miles of coast line nowhere more than 80 miles from the sea us Brits want our backsides kicked if we do not exploit this wasted power tidal flow can be doubled or trebled with piers and groins lets do it,Fracking is an invasion of the earths crust and a threat to our water supply just to make money for the investors then to be abandoned when they have done.