Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fracking: Coastal Oil&Gas retreats from Kent ... for Now

from East Kent Against Fracking:
Friday, November 08 2013

Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd has abandoned plans to drill for coal bed methane gas in 3 east Kent villages.

The news was broken to the campaign group East Kent Against Fracking yesterday in an e-mail from Sharon Thompson, Head of Planning Applications at Kent County Council (KCC) explaining that the company had withdrawn its planning applications to drill exploratory boreholes at Shepherdswell, Tilmanstone and Guston after recent requests were made to provide further information about issues raised during the planning process.

Julie Wassmer, vice chair of East Kent Against Fracking, said: "On October 14th the Environment Agency wrote letters to KCC regarding each of the sites, stating that Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd had not provided sufficient information with their applications and the Environment Agency was therefore 'unable to advise whether or not the environment (in particular groundwater quality) can be protected from this development.' The agency further recommended that planning permission should not be granted on the basis of the information provided and that if the new information was not forthcoming, then the Environment Agency 'would be minded to object to the application.'" Ms Wassmer claims "The company's withdrawal of its applications clearly demonstrates that it was unable to satisfy the demands for information about how Kent water could be protected from contamination by drilling in this area. This is a victory in the sense that yesterday we had three applications for drilling in East Kent and today we have none."

All four parish councils relating to the 3 sites opposed the applications. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (Kent) opposed the applications. Further campaign groups sprang up in the villages to oppose the applications (Keep Shepherdswell Well and Eythorne in the Side of the Drilling etc) and Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke also spoke out against the applications on site specific concerns relating to the threat to the local Chalk aquifer.

Rosemary Rechter, chair of EKAF said, "We are delighted to have won the first round, and want to thank all the people who have worked so hard to understand the true facts about this industry, and to share those facts. This industry will not provide jobs and cheap energy but will threaten our water and industrialise our countryside so the battle will go on."

KCC confirms that no further action will be taken on the planning applications. Any new applications will be subject to the necessary consultations and publicity.


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