All Saints Centre, Friars Lane. Lewes
Two nationally recognised experts on Hydraulic Fracturing (‘Fracking’) will cross swords at a debate on the subject organised by Lewes Energy Information Group (LEIG) at All Saints, Friars Walk Lewes on Sunday October 6th 7-9pm. Professor James Woudhuysen of De Montfort University will speak in favour and Professor David Smythe of Glasgow University will speak against.
Fracking is a technique for extracting natural gas and oil from deep underground. Test drilling in Lancashire caused earthquakes in 2012 and a temporary moratorium was announced by the UK government while an enquiry was held. Recently the all-clear was given and a go-ahead for further test drilling, which has been taking place in Balcombe near Haywards Heath over the summer.
Some sites near Lewes (Ringmer, Southease and Beddingham) which were drilled decades ago are due to be re-activated. The industry argument in favour of fracking is that it will provide a cheap source of domestic energy with lower greenhouse gas emissions than existing energy sources. Concerns expressed by opponents include the contamination of ground water, spillages of harmful chemicals, the adverse climate change impact arising from methane gas emissions and the disruption of the countryside as a consequence of frequent truck deliveries to and from the site.
Raphael Kaplinsky of LEIG said ‘Opinion on fracking has become very polarised. The Lewes public deserves a more informed debate on the issues. We hope to provide answers to these questions: Will fracking contaminate our ground water? Will it contribute anything meaningful to our energy supply? Does it make sense financially? How and to what extent will it disrupt local communities? Why is the government subsidising it? How long will the shale boom last and how many wells will have to be drilled in Sussex to produce the targeted output?’