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Anti-fracking campaigners visit Downing Street with festive treats and letter
Anti-fracking campaigners hand-delivered a letter to the Prime Minister before singing Christmas carols with a difference outside Number Ten.
About 25 residents of Balcombe made the trip to London on Friday to show their opposition to the controversial process of extracting shale gas from beneath of earth's surface.
Children from the Mid Sussex village made solar panel decorations for David Cameron's Christmas tree, sang anti-fracking carols outside the gates to Downing Street and delivered a letter explaining why they opposed fracking.
Campaigner Charles Metcalfe, of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA), said the letter called for an “immediate and binding UK-wide moratorium on shale gas, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification on our islands”.
It read: 'We come with gifts, as is appropriate so close to Christmas, of decorations made by Balcombe children. It is their futures that are under threat. “Do you want to be remembered as the Government that turned this country from a 'green and pleasant land' into countryside pockmarked with thousands of well-pads?
“Do you wish to criminalise your natural and law-abiding supporters in rural communities by obliging them to protest and demonstrate to defend their precious environment against marauding oil and gas companies?
“Are these the actions of 'the greenest government ever'?”
Balcombe is at the centre of plans to begin fracking in the UK, which involves blasting water and sand at high pressure deep underground to cause mini-explosions.
This in turn releases shale gas, which is then harvested for use.
Cuadrilla, the company which had been test drilling for shale gas at in Balcombe over the summer despite a series of high-profile protests, recently announced the discovery of hydrocarbons and oil in its rock samples.
Mr Metcalfe said only six of his party were allowed to the doorstep of Number Ten but he hoped the letter, which also claimed fracking releases neurotoxins in gas flows, causes skin diseases, earthquakes and poisons livestock and water supplies, would leave its mark.
He added: “We delivered the letter and the man simply said 'thank you.'
“We at FFBRA have no plans for another visit, yet. But I believe there are more visits planned in the New Year by other groups opposed to shale gas exploitation.”
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