Thank you to Rebecca, one of our Horse Hill Protectors, for this post
Oil and gas exploration has begun at Horse Hill Road, off Reigate Road. We are now in the early stages in the UK of “unconventional” or “tight” oil exploration, utilising hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to free up formerly inaccessible oil and gas reserves. As global “conventional” oil reserves dwindle, the fossil fuel industry is desperately promoting fracking as a way of continuing business as usual, heavily promoted and subsidised by our Government.
A recent analysis by the IMF estimates the UK “will spend about £26 billion on subsidies for fossil fuels this year”. By contrast, renewable energy companies received only £3.5 billion of subsidies in 2015-15, and Government has decided to slash this amount by ending support for onshore wind farms and cutting solar power subsidies.
What do people think about renewable energy vs fossil fuel extraction?
The Department of Energy and Climate Change conducts regular research into public opinion. Their most recent survey states: “Support for renewables has been consistently high at 75-80%”. Support for shale gas is only 23%. Similarly, only 5% of the public is opposed to renewables, compared to 30% opposition to shale gas.
In order to produce the amount of gas promised by the energy companies, tens of thousands of wells will need to be drilled. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ heavily censored report, ‘Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts’ notes that this industrialisation of the countryside will affect property prices and insurance premiums, while numerous public health and environmental organisations have pointed out the high risk nature of the growing “unconventional” fossil fuel industry. (See www.talkfracking.org.uk; www.frack-off.org.uk; www.iancrane.com; www.frackfreesurrey.info)
We don’t need shale oil and gas!
Every pound invested in the polluting, carbon intensive shale industry is a pound not invested in clean, abundant and low carbon renewable energy. Britain is Europe’s windiest country, and yet we have barely begun to tap this obvious source of energy. Denmark has followed a different path, showing us what is possible with long-term strategic planning for a post fossil fuel world. By 2011, wind generated 28% of its electricity. The government aims for 50% by 2020, as part of its long-term plan to source 100% of its electricity and heating requirements from renewables by 2035, and 100% renewable energy in all sectors by 2050. We can do the same! (See ‘One Million Climate Jobs‘ and ‘Zero Carbon Britain‘ for detailed information.)
Please get involved
The fossil fuel gravy train loves passive observers, and will happily chug on far into the future unless you desire otherwise. Please stop by the camp on Horse Hill. Thank you for caring!