Chester residents gather for anti-fracking protest

Published date: 26 March 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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SCORES of Chester residents who say fracking is “dangerous” demonstrated at the site of a test drilling site.

Members of protest groups Frack Free Farndon and the Frack Free Dee Coalition marched through part of Upton to the site on Duttons Lane, Upton.

No test drilling has begun at the site but it is one of only 10 in the country with a currently active licence to test for coal bed methane.

Another site near Chester at Marsh House Lane, Farndon, is currently being dismantled after testing was completed but campaigners are worried they may be granted a full extraction licence.

One of the protesters and member of Frack Free Dee, Andy Roberts, said: “As a Chester resident I am unhappy about unconventional gas extraction (UGE), which includes fracking, taking place in the UK. Applying myself by opposing UGE practices in Chester, is the best way I can contribute to what I believe to be a very sensible cause.

“A number of points concern me – evidence from the USA and Australia that environmental impacts occur and can have serious negative consequences on water, air and land and will result in further climate change through the release of methane which is considered to have 86 times more of an effect on climate change than carbon dioxide; the fact the UK government is being advised by Lord John Browne about ‘fracking’, yet Lord John Browne is the CEO of the largest unconventional drilling company in the UK; the indication house prices could be negatively affected in areas where ‘fracking’ takes place and comparable wells in the USA have a failure rate of five to six per cent which naturally increases over their lifespan.”

Chester Zoo has signalled its opposition to the nearby test site in Upton over concerns for the environment and the general use of fossil fuels.

A zoo spokesman said: “As a conservation charity with a mission ‘to become a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide’ Chester Zoo is concerned about unconventional gas extraction in the UK including locations close to the site of the zoo.

“Chester Zoo recognises keeping down the cost of energy is a very important issue for UK householders and businesses and would therefore encourage government to ensure there is a robust regulatory framework developed.

“This would need to not only ensure environmental and biodiversity protection, but also set out a strategy of how unconventional gas extraction can contribute to the UK’s energy needs without compromising the climate change targets.”

The zoo has written to Chester MP Stephen Mosley and Cheshire West and Chester Council about their concerns.

Two public meetings about the drilling site have been set up at Upton Westlea Primary School at 7pm on tonight and at Upton Village Hall at 7.30pm tomorrow.

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