An anti-fracking campaigner has delivered a letter to Number 10 calling on the Prime Minister to impose an immediate ban on the controversial drilling technique.

Energy firms believe hydraulic fracturing, which uses high-pressure liquid pumped deep underground to split shale rock and release gas, is an “economic necessity”.

But as part of a national day of protest, campaigners took to the streets in Brighton over the weekend to highlight the issue.

Environmentalist Vanessa Vine, co-ordinator of No Fracking In Sussex, was one of six people to visit Downing Street and hand in a letter calling for fracking to be banned.

Ms Vine said: “Safe fracking is the oxymoron of the decade.

“You can’t do it safely. You cannot legislate for the vagaries of the subterranean geology.

“You start putting water underground at pressure that will crack million-year-old rock, it’s going to go through your cement well casings.

“Your chemicals are going to escape along faultlines along the water courses.”

Drilling concerns

Campaigners claim 57,000 acres of Sussex have been declared as assets for shale gas exploration.

Cuadrilla Resources, which has four exploration drilling sites in Lancashire, was granted planning permission for exploratory drilling in Balcombe, near Haywards Heath.

But local residents launched a campaign fearing it could “wreak havoc” on the area of outstanding natural beauty, as well as causing damage to air and water supplies.

Following these concerns, the Government placed a temporary moratorium on fracking while the health benefits were examined.

It has been reported that Energy Secretary Ed Davey will soon end this while Chancellor George Osborne has said he is considering tax incentives for the industry.

It is believed he may provide further details in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, December 5.

Brighton protest

In Brighton, a group of up to 30 people erected a 6ft oil rig in New Road on Saturday, December 1.

People wearing yellow boilersuits and dressed as animals dragged the ‘oil rig’ from Jubilee Square to New Road.

Banners including “Sussex is not for shale” were displayed.

Darren Ollerton, of Sussex Extreme Energy Resistance, said: “There’s a danger that the water included in the chemicals might actually migrate into the aquifers which can then poison and contaminate people.”

Another said: “If anything goes wrong that’s all the water supplies ruined for ever. Let’s send fracking packing.”

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, told a national newspaper: “We are starting a whole new onshore gas industry. In our licence alone we can supply a quarter of the UK’s gas demand.”

But Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “We should be looking forward with purpose rather than desperately speculating about the last remaining hard-to-reach fossil fuels at a time when we already know about enough fossil fuels than is safe to burn.”

See the latest news headlines from The Argus:

More news from The Argus

Follow @brightonargus

The Argus: Daily Echo on Facebook - Like us on Facebook

The Argus: Google+ Add us to your circles on Google+