Maltby: Residents fear fall-out from fracking

Fracking site in Williston, North Dakota
Fracking site in Williston, North Dakota

Concerned residents have launched a protest group after plans emerged of potential fracking sites in the Maltby region.

Licences have been granted for the use of the controversial gas extraction technique for areas to the north and south of the town, encompassing a region including Dinnington, Laughton and Firbeck amongst others.

Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - extracts shale gas from the earth by forcing a large amount of water, sand and chemicals down bore holes, before fracturing the rock by piping the mixture horizontally at high pressure.

The technique has become widespread in the USA over recent years, but those opposing an increase in fracking in the UK cite a potentially negative impact on local communities and the environment.

Maltby resident David Burley is leading the anti-fracking cause, and has so far led a protest meeting and established the Frack Free South Yorkshire website.

The group aims to oppose any planning application for shale gas drilling, which would have to be granted before fracking can take place.

A statement from the group says: “We want an outright ban on all forms of unconventional gas, in particular shale gas hydraulic fracturing.”

“Why our area first? In September, Neil O’Brien, chief executive of Alkane Energy (who possess the northern licence) said there would be less opposition in areas with a background in coal mining.”

“‘These areas have much more of a heritage of energy. North Notts used to be a mining area, with big lorry movements and big bits of kit’.”

“This is patronising: he is suggesting we are an easy target.”

“The United Nations Environment Programme has said in a global environmental alert that, ‘fracking may result in unavoidable environmental impacts even if unconventional gas is extracted properly, and more so if done inadequately’.”

For more information on the campaign you can visit www.freefracksouthyorkshire.co.uk.