Last night a public meeting was held to discuss the controversial method of gas extraction known as ‘fracking’. Saith Seren on Chester Street played host, and the meeting was addressed by Plaid MEP Jill Evans and Friends of Earth Cymru’s Gareth Clubb.
Proposals to develop fracking in North Wales have recently been met with serious concern as many consider the methods involved to be unacceptable. During the process a water mix, containing chemicals, is forced into the shale which could lead to contamination of future drinking water. Those addressing the meeting further highlighted the issue of water disposal.
The meeting heard from Hal Wilson and Gerry Foskeet who were members of a group in Biddulph, Staffordshire, an area where fracking is already taking place. They gave accounts of the problems experienced in Staffordshire arising from the fracking process.
Former Wrexham Councillor Marc Jones expressed ‘real concerns’ about the fracking process. He explained: “Planning Committee members from local authorities might not be up to speed as to the short and long term implications of fracking”. “This is understandable as it is a complex issue and one which requires greater transparency”.
Marc Jones went on to tell the meeting that there was already one planning approval for a test drill near Penley and he believed there to be another test application lodged for the Wrexham area.
A number of speakers referred to problems experienced in the USA where the fracking process had rendered drinking water contaminated and that the process had triggered earth tremors. Similar refences were heard where recent experiences in Lancashire had led to tremors around the Blackpool area.
Local man Luke Ashley expressed his concerns about the fracking process. As a man with some off shore drilling experience he said: “Initially I saw the process as a means of creating local employment but having researched the affects of fracking I am very much against it.”
Following the meeting some present felt there was a need to set up an action group in North East Wales to act as a protest organisation against fracking and further inform people as to the affects such a process will have on the wider community.
Jill Evans MEP pointed out countries such as Poland had embraced fracking and saw their shale deposits as a rich source of natural gas.
The debate will continue whilst in the background energy providers have recently announced price rises of between 7-11% as the country moves into the winter months amidst claims of rising wholesale gas prices for suppliers.