Ten residents of the West Sussex village of Balcombe have demanded their names be removed from the latest report of the Task Force on Shale Gas because they say it looks as if they endorse the conclusions.
The industry-funded task force said this week (16th September 2015) that shale gas could help the UK move to a low-carbon economy. But the villagers say they do not support its findings.
The residents met the task force’s chair, Lord Chris Smith, to talk about their experiences when Cuadrilla drilled an exploratory oil well in Balcombe in 2013.The use of their names in the report felt like a “kick in the teeth”, they said.
In a letter to the task force secretariat, they have demanded that their names are not used in the final report, expected in December, and they have asked for existing online documents to be edited to remove their names.
Kathryn McWhirter, writing on behalf of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association and No Fracking In Balcombe Society, said in the letter:
“We invited you here to Balcombe in hope and good faith, and we have since ‘fed’ you further information, studies, reports, articles, balance. To see our names on a document that promotes shale gas – well, it feels like a kick in the teeth. We feel as if we have been used.”
Ms McWhirter said the group’s intention was to guide Lord Smith towards “truth and reality”. But she added:
“You have not listened, not to us, not to other community groups. And you have made it appear that we colluded with an organisation that has caved in to the propaganda from the industry and government that have funded and facilitated it.”
“You must be aware that we do not endorse the conclusions of your reports. We do not see gas as a bridge fuel! Consider the time scales, the economics, the hacking away of renewable pillars supporting either end of that bridge, the lack of development of carbon capture and storage for the power sector.”
Updated on 19/9/15 to correct two typos