Kathryn McWhirter

Kathryn McWhirter is a writer and journalist living in Balcombe. She is a member of the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association and worked on the group’s case against Cuadrilla’s latest planning application to West Sussex County Council. Kathryn has been campaigning against fracking since 2011. In the past year, she has attended many meetings on fracking, including the House of Lords enquiry into shale gas extraction.

The past year

I have done very little over the last year other than work on campaigning. I was working as a journalist and a translator. I still do some but I haven’t got a lot of time other than keeping up with all this.

It has been a huge life-changing thing. And absolutely life-filling. It’s not really weekends and evenings – it fills the whole time.

It’s also very important that we’ve met people and there are people that we used to go out to dinner with sometimes in the village that we will never do again but there are so many more people that we would so much rather spend time with.

The planning committee that approved Cuadrilla’s planning application

That was the depressing thing that day –– the final proof of what our politicians were like. Not the result, it wasn’t so much that we lost it.

The House of Lords economic affairs committee

I went a few times and they were really on the other side. There was only Lord May who was on our side. They just wanted to get it moving as soon as possible. The way they called evidence, the people who were chosen to give evidence, and the evidence they gave, it was really all on the industry side.

It was terribly one-sided. And it was not at all surprising what came out in that report.

Attitude to fracking

The movement for me has been from local to global. It’s been from only local effects to cumulative effects of many wells in the same area and also to climate change.

I wasn’t looking originally at climate change and fossil fuels or other issues like underground coal gasification and coal bed methane. I learned about those as I went along.

We have just had a weekend at a Friends of the Earth camp in Derbyshire and we’ve been going to climate change meetings. But I do that now all the time, I’m not just going to fracking things.

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