Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fracking Coming Our Way?

I have joined the  campaign group East Kent Against Fracking which is opposing plans to explore for shale and coal bed methane gas in the former Kent coalfield at  sites near Tlimanstone, Shepherdswell, Guston and  Woodnesbourgh. If gas is found and extraction begins then its highly likely that fracking will take place. This should be very worrying for the people of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Deal, and Thanet who depend upon the Chalk Aquifer which is located under the drilling sites for their water supply. Here is one of our recent press releases. For more information please visit The Green party is the only major political party to oppose fracking and the extraction of coal bed methane gas. I will be organising a public meeting in Thanet later in the year to discuss this issue. If you want to become involved in the campaign please e-mail on
Hundreds of people will be attending public meetings to discuss three controversial planning applications to allow exploratory drilling for coal and shale bed methane gas at the East Kent villages of Shepherdswell, Guston and Tilmanstone this week(1).
On Monday 17 September Tilmanstone Parish Council meets to discuss an application to drill on the village’s former colliery site. Neighbouring Eythorne Parish Council is expected to meet shortly to discuss this application. On Wednesday 18th September Shepherdswell Parish Council are meeting to consider an application for test drilling near the village. On Thursday 19th September, there is a village meeting at Guston to discuss a similar
application (2).  

Dover District Council will be discussing a motion calling for a full report on the implications of the planning applications at its meeting on 18th September(4). 
Protect Kent, an affiliate of the charity Campaign to Protect  Rural England (CPRE) has issued a statement expressing its concerns about the planning applications and will be holding a public meeting for residents of Guston, Shepherdswell and Tilmanstone on 25th September(3).

The applications have been submitted to Kent County Council by Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, which already has permission to conduct exploratory gas drilling at nearby Woodnesborough.
Campaign group East Kent Against Fracking and the Kent Green Party oppose the applications. They argue that exploratory drilling could pollute the Chalk Aquifer, part of  which lies beneath the drilling sites and provides water for thousands of homes in Kent. They point out that additional vehicle movements and noise, as well as light pollution resulting from 24-hour drilling operations, will industrialise the East Kent countryside. If gas is discovered and permission granted for extraction, they warn that this may lead to full-blown fracking, which could well cause serious damage to the area.

Green Party Euro-MP and anti-fracking campaigner, Keith Taylor, will be visiting the Shepherdswell site and meeting local campaigners on the evening of Friday 20th September(5).
For further information contact Ian Driver on 07866588766

(1) The planning applications can be seen at

Coastal Oil and Gas already has KCC planning permission to conduct exploratory gas drilling at Woodnesborough near Sandwich. See:

(2) Tilmanstone Parish Council 16th September, Tilmanstone Village Hall 7pm. Contact Parish Clerk Mrs Cathy Skinner  01304 830200. Shepherdswell Parish Council Wednesday 18th September 7pm Shepherdswell Parish Hall. Contact Parish Clerk Steven Durbidge 01304 830242. Guston residents’ meeting Thursday 19th September Burgoyne Community Centre from 7.30pm CT15 5LY Parish Clerk Glynis Farthing

(3) Dover District Council meeting 6pm Wednesday 18th September will be discussing the following motion:
“This Council is concerned by the prospect of fracking and related drilling activity in the Dover District area and requests that a report is brought forward to the next meeting of this Council to inform the Council of the nature of the process, the potential impact on subsurface water resources and geological formations, the type and scale of the surface structures, and the impact of anti-fracking demonstrations in the light of recent experience in Sussex on the local communities and on the police."

(4)   CPRE Protect Kent pubic meeting Wednesday 25th September 7.15pm Shepherdswell Village Hall. CPRE statement on the planning applications can be seen here:

(5) Keith Taylor Green Party MEP will be visiting Shepherdswell and meeting local campaigners on Friday 20th September. Full details to be announced in separate media release soon.

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