Kent is frack free

Great news that Kent is now frack free as there are no petroleum exploration development licenses (which would allow test drilling) in the county.

Coastal Oil & Gas relinquished all their PEDL areas and no other company has applied to drill here thanks to determined opposition in the county.

Fracking well in North Dakota

Fracking well in North Dakota

CPRE Kent expert hydrology engineer Graham Warren said: “This is a relief for Kent as we there would have been a serious risk that fracking would damage the aquifer which supplies 70% of the county’s water. The gas and oil deposits are no more than 600-700m below the aquifer, the Chalk of the North Downs. There was also a risk that geological faults in the area would have been re-activated allowing gases and fracking fluids to leak into the chalk and so contaminate the water supply.”

Mole Valley, photo by David Fisher, flickr

Mole Valley, photo by David Fisher, flickr

However, our neighbours in Surrey are under threat with licence areas having been granted in some of the most beautiful countryside in the Mole Valley. Mr Warren is advising the Surrey campaigners, and said of the proposed horizontal drilling corridor that will run beneath the aquifer:

“The oil company Europa will have to drill through rock formations that make up the principal aquifer, and these feature a dense network of geological faults – these are planes of structural weakness that allow vertical movement. My concern is that when Europa come to do pressure testing, this could trigger movement on those faults, creating a mini earthquake.

“Europa have produced no evidence to show that pressure testing operations can be carried out without risk to the overlying aquifer and water courses. The onus is on them to convince us, the community, that they can do so.”

He has also warned of a risk of water pollution and groundwater contamination. The drilling would occur in an area that is officially designated as seriously water-stressed by the Environment Agency, and the loss of a principal aquifer through contamination would be a major issue, potentially resulting in weeks, even months without the necessary capacity.

“We really are on a knife edge regarding our water resources, not just in north-east Surrey but throughout the entire south-east of England,” said Mr Warren.

To read a blog on the East Kent fracking situation click here.

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