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Balcombe villagers speak out against anti-fracking protesters
Residents of a sleepy village have come out in force to record their “strong disapproval” of recent antifracking protests.
A letter sent to The Argus contains the names and addresses of 60 Balcombe villagers who wish exploratory drilling to continue without the presence of protesters at the Cuadrilla site.
The letter coincides with a story in The Argus on Wednesday outlining campaigners’ intentions to stay “indefinitely” at the site which has developed on the side of the B2036 London Road.
The statement said: “In spite of the relentless propaganda issued by a small clique in the village and their strident supporting groups from elsewhere, we do not believe exploratory drilling or properly regulated further exploitation will unduly damage our environment.
“We deplore the abuse suffered by employees of the drilling company and the police, extended trespass, and the establishment of a semi-permanent protest camp on hitherto beautiful road verges – actions which add up to an abuse of the undoubted right to peaceful protest.
“We acknowledge the exemplary service provided by the police at the protest site and in the village but we respectfully question the decision to advise the drillers to suspend operations for over a week, thus allowing a self-appointed group to dictate to a legitimate business.
“The priorities now must be to ensure work can resume and roads are kept open to site and general traffic.”
Those who signed the objection, dated August 27, also warned other communities who might experience anti-fracking demonstrators in the future that the problems spread beyond a busy camp.
They claim the village has suffered not only from the protesting crowds, but unfair abuse of the parish council, politicisation of the village fete, unsightly banners and the spreading of unwarranted fear.
The letter went on to say: “To encourage a more reasoned attitude to this and future drilling operations, we ask Government, local authorities and the industry to provide clear and easily understood information on the rationale for developing a British shale oil and gas industry.”
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