‘Listen to the science and invest in clean energy’ says Mansfield anti-fracking campaigner after government’s lift of the ban

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Anti-fracking campaigners have hit out after the Government lifted its ban on the controversial energy extraction method.

Fracking involves drilling into the earth and directing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals at a rock layer in order to fracture it and release the shale gas inside.

However, it was banned in the UK after a series of earth tremors at energy firm Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site, near Blackpool, in 2019.

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In response to the fracking ban implemented three years ago, Coun Ben Bradley, Mansfield MP, said it was amazing news for his constituents, who had spent years raising their concerns with him.

Anti-fracking campaigners held a demonstration in Sherwood Forest, back in 2017Anti-fracking campaigners held a demonstration in Sherwood Forest, back in 2017
Anti-fracking campaigners held a demonstration in Sherwood Forest, back in 2017

However, new Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, in one of his first actions after being appointed to the role by new Prime Minister Liz Truss, has lifted the moratorium.

He said the ban had been lifted in the ‘national interest’. adding, in a bid to make the UK a net energy exporter by 2040, the country must explore ‘all avenues available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas production – so it’s right that we've lifted the pause to realise any potential sources of domestic gas’.

However, after saying people affected by fracking near their homes could receive payments, he faces claims he was trying to buy people off.

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He told MPs: "We should not be ashamed of paying people who are going to be the ones who don't get the immediate benefit of the gas but have the disruption."

Anti-fracking campaigners are concerned about the government's announcement.Anti-fracking campaigners are concerned about the government's announcement.
Anti-fracking campaigners are concerned about the government's announcement.

However, Mark Fletcher, Conservative MP for Bolsover, said: “It seems to come back to communities being bought off rather than having a vote.”

Anti-fracking campaign group Frack Free Warsop was set up in 2017.

Group member Diane Stokes said: “If the Prime Minister wants to build a strong energy system for the future, she should listen to the science.

“Fracking cannot be done safely or effectively in the UK.

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“Instead, invest in clean energy, help us insulate our homes and, please, start listening when people tell you NO to fracking."

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Diane is also a member of Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth, an environmental and conservation group, covering Warsop and Edwinstowe.

She said the group will be hosting an online gathering for anti-fracking activists from across the country, which will help campaigners understand the lifting of the moratorium and identify opportunities to challenge it.

The gathering will be focused on how activists can support each other in the anti-fracking movement.

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Deborah Hodson, an anti-fracking campaigner from Mansfield, said: “The science has not changed even if this government's mind set has.

“An issue that concerns me greatly is the water aquifers which are contaminated and cannot be consumed.

“Our reservoirs are low and we are being encouraged by privatised water companies to curb our water usage.

“The fracking process uses millions of gallons of fresh water per well.”

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Ashfield resident Meg Scutt, from Sutton, said: “It's already been said that this won't help much,so what is the point in destroying the environment for this?”

However, not everybody opposes fracking.

Karen Kendrick, from Ashfield, said: “If we British people want our own gas, then fracking has to be done.”