Campaigners mount anti-fracking protest in Chester


Neil Bellis

ANTI-fracking campaigners staged a protest outside council headquarters in Chester yesterday.

The protesters made their feelings known outside the HQ building ahead of a Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) executive meeting.

There are currently no fracking sites in and around Chester but there are two sites, one in Farndon and the other at Upton, where Dart Energy has permission to test drill for coal bed methane.

Last month campaigners set up a permanent camp site on Duttons Lane, Upton, to try to stop the tests by blockading the site entrance.

The campaigners claim the test site is potentially dangerous because it is too close to houses, Upton High School and Chester Zoo.

They say the drilling could cause environmental damage as well as significantly reduce house prices in the area. Speaking at last night’s protest, Matt Bryan, of Hoole Road, Hoole, a member of the Frack Free Upton protest group, said: “The three main parties are all behind fracking.

“We want a transparent working committee and that is why we are here tonight.

“We are getting major local support which has been increasing because people are beginning to realise what a big issue this is.”

Another protester, Brian Slocock, from Upton, said: “Whether it is coal bed methane extraction or fracking, I am worried.

“It is a process which has a lot of negative aspects. It uses dangerous chemicals which can release serious pollutants into the environment.”

Before the executive meeting began there were a number of public speakers on the subject of fracking.

One former Tory county councillor, Andrew Needham, from Tarporley, a member of the Council to Protect Rural England, said he was not opposed to fracking but said all the evidence for and against should be shared with the public.

He said: “Fracking needs to be in the right place and have the right conditions attached to it. In order to reassure people’s concerns we need to have a more substantial document in place dealing with the issues.”

The executive agreed to hold a public consultation on fracking to get all viewpoints and set up a working committee of four Conservative and three Labour councillors to look into the evidence from both sides.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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