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Nearly 2000 signatures from North Bassetlaw residents opposed to fracking will be put before the Nottinghamshire County Council’s January meeting next Thursday ( 15th January). The petition will be presented by County Councillor Pamela Skelding of Retford.

It is calls upon the County Council not to agree to the controversial process of the fracking of deep shale by IGas, using explosions from horizontal drills reaching out 2 km in all directions in order to extract methane gas which will be split open with thousands of gallons of high-pressure water sand and poisonous chemicals. It is likely that the exploratory work will take three months while a planning application is prepared.

County Councillor Skelding received the petition at County Hall last Thursday (8th January) from David Larder, the Chairman of Bassetlaw against Fracking campaign which had collected the signatures in Retford and North Bassetlaw.

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On the same evening a liaison group set up by IGas heard that the company intended to make an application for exploratory drilling. This will be at Springs Road near the village of Misson on land next to an old rocket launching site. “ The whole area is not only picturesque but has many sites around there of special scientific interest, particularly with regard to rare bird life” said David.

He also said that the village had been surveyed along with eight others in North Nottinghamshire by door-to-door campaigners. Their survey results showed that 70% of households were against fracking. Even before the announcement 80% of Misson villagers did not want fracking in the area. “Their concerns are not just about the landscape being spoiled by pipelines , drills and huge tanks. They also have a good understanding of the dangers that have been exposed across the world. They fear for their drinking water and the potential for surface spillages as well as methane haze “continued Mr Larder, who added that methane was the most potent climate change gas.

He pointed out that a scientific study in Nature Magazine this week urged that fossil fuels should be phased out as soon as possible in the world and no new efforts should be made to extract unconventional fuels such as shale gas.

Mr Larder said that the climate change conference in Paris later in this year was the very last chance for international agreement to halt what is forecast to be disastrous climate change within the next half-century. “This is not just about starting drilling around Misson. The Shale gas Company has told me that they could be setting up drills right across our area for the next 30 years. Our planet cannot afford that. We need a total change of direction in our fuel policy. If we are to stick to an internationally agreed target of no more than a 2° increase in global temperatures from carbon emissions. We have to leave Fossil Fuels in the ground”. Mr Larder stated that rising sea levels caused by melting Arctic ice and increasing methane from the thawing of Arctic tundra into the atmosphere would make East Coast towns like Hull and Boston and Yarmouth disappear in this century. He urged all thinking people to protect the lives of their grandchildren from the results of unbearable heat, violent storms and floods. He said that it is already happening in Melbourne, Australia where he has two grandchildren. “There have been five scientific studies done for the United Nations by over 2000 climate scientists who support what I am saying” Mr Larder explained.

He added that we were in the same position now as we were with the tobacco companies, who also twisted the facts about ill-health from smoking in order to protect profits. “At least individuals could choose to stop smoking. In the case of methane gas extraction, the government is giving us no choice. They are stacking the cards up for their friends to make short-term money. We have to stand up and fight” David concluded “and our MPs and councillors should do likewise.”

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