Updated 25th June 2017

There were no references to fracking in the Queen's Speech on 21st June but nothing is confirmed until next week. Some newspapers have indicated that this has been due to the pressure from rural MPs, which shows that writing to them at this crucial time is worth it. Please continue. Template letter below.

Update from Paul Mobbs 20th June - Any amendments/motions on Conservative's planning proposals on fracking and drilling in the Weald will be voted on during Wednesday 28th/Thursday 29th June. See 'Chamber Information' paper:

Page 30 (page 32 of the PDF file) of the Day 2 briefing outlines the Government's priorities for changing the planning system on fracking -- debate likely to take place on 22nd June.
Page 10 (page 12 of PDF) of the Day 3 briefing outlines the general background to the debate on fracking, which might mean they will debate the more general principle of the measures -- debate likely to take place on 26th June:

This is a critical time to write to your MPs.  Please arrange to visit them or write to them TODAY. You can do this via www.writetothem.com. Template letter below.

We must ask our MPs ask whether they support the Conservative's policy. We need to let them them know fracking and acidisation is DANGEROUS TO OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT AND FOR CLIMATE CHANGE and is HUGELY UNPOPULAR. It will not bring about energy independence nor will it create many new jobs. Many Conservatives are concerned about the precious greenbelt we have and, we know that fracking and acidisation requires hundreds of wells across an area so the greenbelt is incredibly important to protect, therefore we cannot allow these extreme forms of energy extraction to go ahead. It has also been proved to be just as bad as coal for our environment and that the Conservative's data they use is flawed. This would greatly impact our COP21 emission targets and go against the Climate Change Act of 2008. If you have a Conservative MP, mention the above points.

We also know that the Labour Party are writing their own Queen's Speech. If you have a Labour MP, write and/or visit them them and ask that a ban on fracking (as promised in their manifesto) is included in their speech and ask these MPs to speak out against fracking. There will be a debate in Parliament and it’s essential fracking and acidisation are mentioned in this debate.

Concern about Conservative Party manifesto

The Conservative Party manifesto is incredibly worrying. It states they will change planning legislation and give the go-ahead for ALL drill sites in the Weald (and exploratory drilling elsewhere in the UK), to be classed as 'permitted development' meaning without any planning permission. It is important to ask whether our MPs back this policy and make them aware of our concerns regarding fracking, acidisation and any form of extreme energy extraction, especially since all of our drill-sites and licensed areas in Sussex and The Weald are incorrectly classified as conventional sources. We must spread the message about the true intentions of oil companies such as Cuadrilla and UKOG here in the Weald.

This is about a huge loss of democracy and the impact that exploratory drilling will have on communities and the environment. As most of you are aware the definition of fracking was changed in the Infrastructure Act 2015 so that it is only called fracking if an operation involves, or is expected to involve, the injection of –

(i) more than 1,000 cubic metres of fluid at each stage, or expected stage, of the hydraulic fracturing, or
(ii) more than 10,000 cubic metres of fluid in total

This means that the Blackpool fracking operation in 2011 (that caused damage to the well and two earth tremors) does not count as fracking. And so under this definition all licensed areas in the Weald are supposedly non-fracking drilling, but are equally as toxic.

The Infrastructure Act's definition should be challenged. By the government defining fracking as one specific phase in the entire process, it means that any environmental impacts that do occur must be proven to be associated with that specific phase in order to claim that the industry definition of fracking has caused that impact. It would appear from Desmog -UK that this definition was industry influenced.

For more information see this important article written by Paul Mobbs called Conservatives Planning 'Frackageddon' After Election

Frack Free Sussex urge you TODAY:

1.Now the elected MPs are in place, please arrange to visit them or write to them TODAY and ask whether they support the Conservative proposal above to give 'permitted development rights' for 'non-fracking' onshore drilling. This would mean Cuadrilla and UKOG would rapidly be able to deface and industrialise our countryside. Oil companies would not need planning permission to drill and acidise, yet acidising, like fracking, is just as toxic, would require a great many wells across the Weald, would bring heavy traffic and the risk of pollution. Nearly all exploratory fracking throughout the UK and ALL drill-sites in the Weald would be deemed 'permitted development'. Please see DrillorDrop for more information. Also highlight your concerns about the methane emissions from fracking being worse than coal because they are using flawed data.

2. Write now to your local papers to highlight your concerns. Despite this newspaper site being old but not much has changed http://news.mysociety.org/

More Informative Links and videos

Drilling Down with Dodgy Data: Govt's Fracking Science Scam
The Fugitive Methane from Fracking makes it Dirtier than Coal
Fracking Hoax (US Shale Gas)
Keith Taylor MEP » Blog Archive » A guide to drilling, acidisation and fracking in the South East
About Fracking and acidisation - Frack Free Sussex
Methane Leaks from Energy Wells Affects Groundwater, Travels Great Distances, Study Confirms | The Tyee
Infrastructure Act 2015 Links: The Guardian, DrillorDrop, Talk Fracking 

Template Letter

PLEASE PLEASE personalise this letter below written by a Balcombe resident with your own style, any of your own local objections, or other concerns you may have, ie the complete lack of democratic process, the industrialisation of the Weald, the lack of information on matrix acidising, the change to our landscape, the flawed data for MacKay-Stone report regarding fugitive methane emissions, that it is worse than coal in terms of climate change, the multitude of peer-reviewed studies on extreme energy extraction that tell us it is harmful, etc, etc. Don't forget to ask whether they support it and ask for a reply.

Dear [MP name],

I am very concerned that the Conservative manifesto proposes (page 23) to make any ‘non-fracking’ drilling for oil and gas ‘a permitted development’ – one of those minor works you don’t need to bother planners with.

As you know, all the new oil and gas prospecting in the Weald is officially designated as ‘non-fracking’. Nevertheless, the acidisation of ‘tight’ limestone (replacing, for the moment, hydraulic fracturing) will require large numbers of industrial sites across the region, and will bring similar traffic, machinery, flares and chemicals, fugitive gases, potential spills and accidents, stress and disruption, and substantial quantities of liquid and solid waste.

These are not minor issues. All applications to drill hydrocarbon wells must be scrutinised by local people and their representatives.

You should be aware that any oil well authorised without going through a local planning process will arouse the same reaction as in Balcombe when Cuadrilla’s original permission to drill was slipped through without local knowledge.

In the interests of our country, I urge you to lobby for this proposal to be dropped in the ‘pruned’ Conservative manifesto, and for it not to be included in the Queen’s Speech.

If this clause remains in the manifesto and is put to the vote in the House of Commons, please would you let me know whether or not you will vote in support of it?

Kind regards

[Your name and address]

NB Frack Free Sussex is a non party political group and we do not support or promote any political party. We are simply expressing our concern with the Conservative Party manifesto as it goes against our aims to ban fracking.

Thanks to Frack Free Notts and Paul Mobbs for updates