‘Are we going to be fracked?’ was the question that Frack Free South Yorkshire posed to the people of Mosborough, in a public meeting about shale gas extraction.
Sheffield City Council have taken an official stance against fracking and will refuse to allow the process to take place on any council owned land.
The meeting, held at Mosborough Miners Welfare on Tuesday October 18, attracted around 150 people from the village and surrounding areas.
Concerns were raised about fracking in the region, after local residents were approached by shale company INEOS to carry out seismic surveys on their land.
Frack Free South Yorkshire was set up three years ago by secondary school science teacher David Burley, after hearing about the process in a local Rotherham newspaper.
The night began with Mr Burley saying: “I’m against fracking. Let me state I’m biased.”
This was followed by an hour-long presentation on the negatives of the practice, before it was opened up to the floor for a question and answer session. Mr Burley was joined by members of Sheffield Against Fracking for the talk.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the process of extracting natural shale gas from shale rock. High pressured water is forced down a well and injected into rocks found over a mile underground. The resulting cracks allow the trapped gas to be collected.
A mixture of sand and chemicals are also used in the process, which some have linked to potential groundwater contamination and air quality degradation.
Mr Burley said: “If the people in the UK want it, then so be it, but they need to make an informed choice.
“What we’ve found over the last three years is people are making an informed opinion and they are saying no.”
In a statement on INEOS’ website the company claims concerns about the environmental risks of fracking are based on misinformation, with the scientific view being that it is safe.
They also claim that there is poor understanding of the need for gas in the UK and the benefits of using a domestic supply over imports.
Woodseats resident Owen Lawrence was at the meeting and said: “The government are pushing it through very, very quickly and there doesn’t seem to be enough thought going into it.
“There are loads of ways that we can gain sustainable, clean energy without having to destroy the earth.”
Sheffield City Councillor and Planning and Highways Committee member Coun Joe Otten was at the meeting and said: “It’s quite clear people don’t want it near them.
“Obviously, there’s a case to be made on the other side and if it makes it to the planning committee, then we have to hear that.”
South East Sheffield News put out a poll on Twitter before the meeting, asking if people would welcome fracking in their area. The results can be seen below.
Mr Burley’s final statement of “South Yorkshire’s not for shale” was met with rapturous applause and the meeting ended with plans to put together a local action group to combat any future fracking in the area.