Aug 14 2013
Energy company Cuadrilla is unlikely to turn an area which has become the focus of anti-fracking protests into a fossil fuel production site.
The firm, which started exploratory oil drilling near Balcombe, West Sussex, earlier this month, said there are likely to be other more suitable sites.
The company also said it was not planning on focusing on any more sites "at the moment" in Sussex, a county which has become a focal point for anti-fracking protests.
For more than two weeks, campaigners have staged a gathering at the entrance to the exploratory site to highlight their concerns about fracking and slow down deliveries, and this week hundreds more activists are expected to descend on Balcombe for a six-day camp, dubbed Reclaim the Power.
Although Cuadrilla has said it does not propose to conduct hydraulic fracturing in the area, opponents to the extraction method fear the company could do so in the future.
Opponents of the controversial method of fracking, which involves high pressure liquid pumped deep underground to split shale rock and release gas supplies, have highlighted concerns about potential water contamination and environmental damage, as well as small-scale earthquakes.
David Cameron has claimed fracking will attract "real public support" when the benefits are explained, such as potentially cutting energy bills, adding the process would cause only "very minor change to the landscape", and bring a thriving shale-gas industry with tens of thousands of jobs.
Alison Stevenson, the chairman of Balcombe Parish Council, has written an open letter stating that if the No Dash for Gas group intends to break the law during the event, starting this Friday, then it should stay away.
A spokeswoman for No Dash for Gas said: "People will be taking direct action but there is no intention to get arrested and break the law, and if there is any violence it will not come from us."
Friends of the Earth head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: "Communities don't want to see their quality of life and local environment threatened by fracking, and are rightly sceptical about claims it will lead to cheaper fuel bills."