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Climate change advisor 'in favour' of fracking
Fracking has been given the thumbs up by the Government's top climate change advisor, potentially paving the way for the controversial drilling technique in Sussex.
Lord Deben, head of the government's official advisory board on climate change, dismissed environmental concerns and urged ministers to press ahead with fracking.
He argued exploiting underground shale gas reserves could give the country a secure source of energy without damaging the environment.
Environmentalists say fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock and release gas, could contaminate water and increase carbon emissions.
The high-level intervention was made after Celtique Energie submitted an application to drill 3km into South Downs National Park to explore for oil, gas and shale.
The firm has a second drilling application pending in Wisborough Green and a third approved near Broadford Bridge.
Meanwhile Cuadrilla carried out exploratory drilling in Balcombe over the summer and has applied to complete further testing at the rural site.
Lord Debben said: “It just isn't true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack. And yet to listen to some people on the green end, that's what they say.
“I'm in favour of it. The carbon budgets have already assumed that we are going to use gas well on through the 2020s and into the 30s.
“There will be a need for gas (and) much better to have it from us and as soon as we can because I do genuinely think people ought to be worried about the security of our energy supplies.”
Chancellor George Osborne announced tax breaks to encourage investment in shale gas.
However Max Alderton of Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green, argued fracking would harm the environment.
He said: “He's a Conservative member of the Government so he's biased and his opinion isn't valid.
“Of course fracking would cause environmental damage. If you have drilling sites every three miles across the countryside there's going to be huge environmental damage.”
Helz Cuppleditch, of Frack Free Arun, added: “West Sussex is heavily populated so we're not going to be able to just ignore fracking.
“It's not going to take place in a remote corner; this is going to impact on everyone in the county.”
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