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article imagePrime Minister Cameron's home 'fracked' by Greenpeace

By Russell Chapman     Jun 5, 2014 in Politics
British Prime Minister David Cameron had his home "fracked" yesterday as Greenpeace protested future legislation which permits companies to explore for shale gas under private property without permission.
Campaigners "sealed off" Cameron's country house and put up a sign saying “We apologise for any inconvenience we may cause while we frack under your home.” They also tried to deliver a mock cheque for £50, they say this is the amount of compensation that the government will pay to property owners who are affected.
At the moment, companies need permission from the landowners under whose land they drill. The newly proposed legislation is designed to change this situation. Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, said to The Independent: “At the moment, a developer can apply to the courts for permission to drill a horizontal pipe a mile down underneath your house and needs to go to the Secretary of State to get that permission. We've got a solution that we think simplifies that and we're consulting on it now.”
Greenpeace's Simon Clydesdale said, "David Cameron wants to rob people of their right to stop fracking firms drilling under their homes, surely he won't mind if we kick off the under-house fracking revolution below his own garden."
"The prime minister is about to auction off over half of Britain to the frackers, including national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Cotswolds."
"Having failed to reassure people that fracking is safe or good for Britain, Cameron is now railroading it through with a ‘bungs and bulldozers’ approach."
A YouGov/Greenpeace survey (pdf) of 1898 people found that 74% are opposed to companies drilling under homes without permission. Greenpeace says over 45000 people have joined a legal block based on the access rights home owners have over the ground below their property. Fracking is a controversial topic, many people worry about the environmental effects it might have as it uses high pressure fluids, including chemicals, to fracture rock so gas can be extracted. It involves not only drilling straight down but also horizontally, sometimes for more than a mile, a single well might pass under a large number of properties. The main concern is potential pollution of the water table but also the possibility of 'mini earthquakes' as the drilling by its very action shatters rock deep underground.
Schematic cross-section of the subsurface illustrating types of natural gas deposits.  Fracking is u...
Schematic cross-section of the subsurface illustrating types of natural gas deposits. Fracking is used to extract shale gas.
US Energy Information Administration
The government however, is enthusiastic about the potential economic benefits of fracking, it believes this energy source can bring an economic boom to the UK as well as increased energy independence. However, the message does not appear to have reached many people yet.
More about David Cameron, Greenpeace, Fracking, Protest, Law
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