Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Letter to Alison...

A letter was posted on the Balcombe Parish site today that this is in response to:

Dear Alison,
I write as a resident of Blackpool (up here in the 'desolate/unloved' North) - we have been trying very hard for around 2 years to get Cuadrilla to stop drilling here; they have drilled 4 wells, with one failing due to the earthquakes and another now out of use due to equipment that is stuck inside. The one that caused the earthquakes is inadequately sealed and we are struggling to get a transparent picture of the plans around how they will deal with potential ongoing risks from it.

This image is of the proposal for well sites where I live:

Cuadrilla have been into our places of education and business, in order to 'sponsor' things and win over and divide the community - who are largely ill-informed as the public meetings are not broadly publicised or attended... most people just don't have the time or knowledge to even look at what this is all about - complicated subject indeed.

That you are experiencing what it is like to have Cuadrilla doing business in your community is such a sad thing. I have been down to visit the camp over the past three weekends to see such wonderful villagers and concerned residents from across the UK, coming together to question the haste with which this business is undertaken; to question the history of accidents and harm that this industry is known for; to question the honesty and transparency of Cuadrilla who were only this year in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority over exaggerations of safety claims in their literature.

You said in your post Alison that you were not aware of an invitation to people from outside of Balcombe to join in opposition to Cuadrilla’s drilling there and I understand how worrying this must be ...BUT I think it very important to note that the harm to air and water that could come when Cuadrilla are working, is something that will impact the residents everywhere - air and water have no respect for borders so it is to be expected that others from nearby and further afield will indeed be there.

I attended a meeting last Friday evening in Balcombe where a full room of village residents were indeed in favour of getting help to be heard – many had voted NO to Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, had signed petitions, objected to planning, written to MPs and Councillors – all to no avail.

You say that you have been balancing opinions and ‘tolerating extreme views’ and I don’t really understand what you mean? Is opposition to drilling an ‘extreme view’ or simply how they are expressing that view (genuine question)? 

What Cuadrilla are doing to our air, water, agriculture and communities is criminal (even if the paperwork paints it differently); concerned citizens asking for a potential harm to stop BUT not being listened to in our democracy, is criminal; standing up to this criminality is not easy and because the industry is brutal and powerful, we have very little we can use. Currently, my weapons are truth and determination – but these have got me nowhere; at what point do I look at the law that wraps our law enforcement around corporate vehicles and tries to silence objection and wonder, what IS legal?

When that drill leaves Balcombe, it's coming back here to the North - where no-one seems to hear us when we scream for help; we would be hugging every person that came to stand in opposition with us.