One of Theresa May’s government’s most controversial policies could be coming to London. And it’s a move that has already sparked outrage among politicians and residents alike. Because the plan seems, on the face of it, like an absolute catastrophe.
You fracking what?
An energy company has claimed it’s found natural gas deposits worth millions of pounds beneath an industrial estate in North West London. And the company, London Local Energy (LLE), is looking to extract the fuel by fracking the area.
LLE has developed its theory that an area below Artesian Close Industrial Estate in Willesden could hold gas deposits after researching the discovery of oil at Stonebridge Park in 1912. And LLE now wants an exploration licence from the the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to drill underground. But currently, the OGA is not accepting any new bids for exploration licences.
This hasn’t stopped LLE theorising over the possibilities of fracking London. Chief Executive Nick Grealy said:
We want to speak to everyone about this, including businesses and residents. If everyone said ‘no, this is not a good idea’ then at least we have tried. But we need to have this conversation. Fracking is not a dirty word. Why does fracking have such a stigma when 90 per cent of people don’t know what it is? The shale revolution in the US is barely 10 years old but now over 70 per cent of US gas comes from shale.
Very fracking concerned
But locals disagree. Business owner Mordechai Chachamu said: “I do not see any prospect of this happening. Once people in the neighbourhood hear about it they will be in revolt.” And Brent Labour councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala said he was “very concerned” about the prospect of fracking in Willesden:
which is one of the most densely populated areas in London. Residents are already having to deal with high levels of air pollution. We should instead be focusing on building for the future and leading the way on renewable energy by providing jobs and opportunities, especially for young people in a cleaner and greener London.
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Fracking pros and cons
The idea of fracking taking place in London may be worrying to many people. And campaigners would say that the public should have every right to be concerned. Because fracking has been linked to:
- Contamination of groundwater.
- Methane pollution and its impact on climate change.
- Air pollution impacts.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Blowouts due to gas explosion.
- Large volume water use in water-deficient regions.
- Fracking-induced earthquakes.
But supporters of fracking say that the process:
- Gives greater access to oil and gas supplies.
- Has direct and indirect economic benefits.
- Gives countries energy independence, making them less reliant on imports.
- Increases employment, and can also decrease air pollution.
No fracking way
As The Canary has been documenting, attempts at fracking in Lancashire have prompted a backlash from locals and campaigners alike. This includes accusations of the police and private security firms using “brutal” and “violent” force to try and stop protests. If this can happen in a small Lancashire village, then any fracking that is attempted in London will likely be met with a considerably larger opposition; because, among other concerns, the potential risks surrounding water contamination and earthquakes could be huge.
But with the OGA not permitting exploration licences at present, currently LLE’s idea is going to stay just that. And the gas will continue to remain in the ground. For now.
– Support campaigns against fracking.
–You can also read more on fracking from The Canary.
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