Fracking in Kent too risky according to countryside charity
PUBLISHED: 12:46 23 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:46 23 December 2014
CPRE Kent say the county’s water supply would be under too much threat
Rural campaign group, CPRE Kent (Campaign to Protect Rural England), has today (December 23) told the Government that the danger from fracking to Kent’s water supplies is too great.
It has submitted its evidence on the danger of fracking in parts of Kent to a Commons Select Committee. The Environmental Audit Committee is undertaking an inquiry looking at the potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions, habitats and geological integrity.
CPRE Kent fears fracking could damage the aquifer which supplies 70 per cent of the county’s water. The gas and oil deposits are no more than 600-700 metres below the aquifer, the Chalk of the North Downs.
The charity states that there is a risk that geological faults in the area would be re-activated allowing gases and fracking fluids to leak into the chalk and so contaminate the water supply.
It has produced a detailed report on the water resource implications of shale gas and oil exploration and development in East Kent and the Weald. This has formed the basis of the submission to the Audit Committee.
CPRE Kent argues that planes of structural weakness which have developed along fractures in the rocks allow vertical slippages of up to 100 metres. The charity says that these are the sites of earthquakes which took place over a period of more than 200 million years but are still regarded as active, as evidenced by the Folkestone earthquake in 2007. There were also notable earthquakes in 1382, 1500 (when six people were killed), 1776 and 1950.
The licensed area, Woodnesborough, Tilmanstone and Shepherdswell, also features up to 10 public supply boreholes. The charity says that these boreholes would be at risk if any of the fluid used to frack areas escaped.
The hydraulic fracturing process involves the injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemicals known as ‘slick water’. It is pumped into boreholes under high pressure in order to fracture the shale rock and release the trapped gases.
CPRE Kent director, Hilary Newport, said: “We have submitted strong arguments backed by scientific evidence to the Environmental Audit Commission detailing our very serious concerns about fracking. We fear the potential danger to Kent’s water supply is too big a risk.
“We await with interest the committee’s report and the Government’s response to it.”