The evil twin of fracking is on its way to Kent


You will have seen the footage from Balcombe, where fracking company Cuadrilla have been running an exploratory borehole in the search for shale gas and oil.

Actually what I’ve seen reminds me of the road protest movement of the 90s.

It’s the same unconventional alliance of green activists, twitchers, hippies, druids, romantics and middle class Tories worried about property blight.

It seems as if something similar is on its way to Kent.

Not shale gas, this time, but coal bed methane, referred to as “the evil twin of shale gas”, being even more polluting.

If you ask Kent County Council, they will tell you that there are no planning applications for fracking in Kent.

That’s because Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, the company making the applications, is planning on exploration rather than actual fracking.

But they wouldn’t be making the applications if they didn’t expect to extract.

Coastal Oil and Gas are partnered by the inaptly named Eden Energy.

The applications are for Tilmanstone, Shepherdswell and Guston, on the Kent coalfield.

As I remember, these were some of the villages involved in the Miners’ Strike back in the 1980s.

Two possibilities spring to mind: either they will sell it to the villagers as work to replace their lost jobs down the mines or, if there are no jobs available, these villages will have been picked because they would never vote for the incumbents at KCC anyway.

You might wonder why we should be worried here in Whitstable?

The reason is that a large percentage of our water comes from the Chalk Aquifer of East Kent.

Even exploration carries a high risk of irreversibly contaminating the supply.

France has held a moratorium on fracking, while Germany has invested heavily in renewable energy.

Britain, on the other hand, is blindly following the USA and inviting investment from fracking companies.

We are desperately wringing the last of the fossil fuels from the earth and, almost certainly, doing irreparable damage in the process.

If you want to object you must do so in writing to KCC before the 15th November 2013.

For more information go to

Or sign the anti-fracking petition here:

From The Whitstable Gazette.

The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number. Send letters to: The Editor, Gazette House, 5-8 Boorman Way, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3SE, email

Published by christopherjamesstone

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written six books: Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground (Faber & Faber 1996); The Last of the Hippies (Faber & Faber 1999); Housing Benefit Hill & Other Places (AK Press 2001); The Trials of Arthur (with Arthur Pendragon: Thorsons/Element 2003); The Trials of Arthur Revised Edition (with Arthur Pendragon: The Big Hand 2010); & The Empire of Things (Gonzo multimedia 2013). He is currently working on his seventh. From 1993 till 1998 he was a regular columnist with the Guardian Weekend in the UK. His column Housing Benefit Hill was a runaway hit, observing life on a run down housing estate in a small town in England, while his travel column CJ Stone's Britain took a wry look at the state of Britain in the 90s. From 2003-2008, he ran a column for Prediction magazine. Other columns include a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Times and columns for Mixmag & the Big Issue. Currently he writes a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Gazette and makes regular contributions to the Guardian on-line, the London Review of Books and Kindred Spirit magazine.

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a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.


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