Thursday, 31 October 2013

EKAF PR: Local Opposition mounts to Drilling Applications


LOCAL OPPOSITION MOUNTS TO DRILLING APPLICATIONS After 4 east Kent parish councils recently voted against applications for exploratory drilling at 3 sites in east Kent, a new campaign group has sprung up in one of the affected villages. Eythorne, which together with Tilmanstone, Guston and Shepherdswell parish councils opposes planning applications by Coastal Oil & Gas Ltd, has created its own group and a website called Eythorne in the Side of Drilling. 

This follows the formation of another village campaign group Keep Shepherdswell Well which has just published its second letter Newsletter. (See attachment). 

Julie Wassmer Vice Chair of East Kent Against Fracking says "Local MP Charlie Elphicke opposes these applications on site specific concerns and Kent County Council recently cancelled a public meeting as well as deferring a site meeting for its planning committee members after the Environment Agency wrote that it was '…unable to advise whether or not the environment (in particular groundwater quality) can be protected from this development.' I was told by KCC's Chief Planning Officer Sharon Thompson that no decision can now be made by KCC's planning committee until 2014 which is a significant step forward for campaigners considering original deadline given by KCC for consultation was October 6th."

Pam Mudge Wood a member of both EKAF and Keep Shepherdswell Well says 'the delay allows villagers to access more information and a number of activities are now planned to raise local awareness of the negative impact of the drilling. These include letter writing clinics and screenings of "Fracking in the UK - The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas" by Marco Jackson on Saturday 2 Nov, 2-4pm and Friday 8 Nov, 7:30 - 9:30 pm. At the weekend we will also be embarking on door-to-door canvassing of Shepherdswell and Coldred Parish, knocking on doors, not just dropping in letterboxes, with a hard-hitting leaflet urging villagers to write letters and attend the films. We will be offering a simple letter to sign on the doorstep to register support for the parish council decision and the report upon which it was based, as well as a copy of our latest newsletter."

 Rosemary Rechter, Chair of EKAF said 'I am very pleased to see local people organising themselves so well to fight the applications. We have also had a number of requests from our members to stage further public meetings in east Kent following our successful meeting at Dover Town Hall on October 16th. There may be a delay in the planning process but I would warn everyone against resting on their laurels. We have won two rounds with all four parish councils deciding against the applications, and the Environment Agency demanding clarification from Coastal Oil & Gas Ltd, but the fight is by no means over."

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