Quaker worship at fracking protest

Quaker Meeting for Worship held outside proposed fracking site at Balcombe

Quaker worship at fracking protest | Photo: Photo: Tim Gee

Quakers have held a Meeting for Worship as part of a protest outside a proposed fracking site at Balcombe.  The village in West Sussex has been at the centre of a protest campaign since the start of August when energy company Cuadrilla Resources began exploratory drilling.

Tim Gee, Quaker and activist with Friends of the Earth, was invited to organise the Meeting for Worship on Sunday 4 August.

Friends travelled from London to attend and gave a short introduction to Quaker worship. Around thirty people participated, two thirds of whom had never attended a Quaker Meeting before. The half hour worship was held opposite the site gates next to busy traffic and a large police presence.

Sunniva Taylor, Sustainability and Peace programme manager, QPSW, said: ‘Our current economic system relies on carbon-intensive fuels. These are being extracted in more and more extreme ways, with greater injustice for people and the Earth. This is not an accident – governments and businesses are backing extreme extraction of fossil fuels such as fracking and tar sands with financial and political support. In being present at Balcombe Friends are part of the mass mobilisation standing for an alternative economy based on nonviolence, equality and sustainability.’

She added: ‘QPSW staff will be visiting Balcombe again next Saturday, on 17 August, when the camp will be increased in numbers by the “Reclaim the Power” action camp protesting against the “dash for gas”. If you’re thinking of going please contact sunnivat@quaker.org.uk.’

Cuadrilla is operating on a temporary licence that expires in September. Francis Egan, chief executive, confirmed that if conventional extraction methods are not commercial ‘then we would look at whether fracking would improve the rate of flow’.

Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) involves injecting chemicals such as uranium and lead into the ground at high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release natural gas.

Friends of the Earth highlight links to ‘contamination of water supplies, increased air pollution and even small earthquakes’.

David Cameron recently described fracking as ‘a massive opportunity’ and refuted environmental concerns.

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