Protesters march to Downing Street

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Anti-fracking campaigners marched to ten Downing Street this week with a letter demanding the Prime Minister compensate communities if drilling leads to a fall in house prices or tourism.

The No Fracking in Balcombe Society were among those who took to the Government building on Tuesday (November 5).

It came after energy firm Cuadrilla signed a new 30-year lease on land off London Road in Balcombe where it carried out test drilling for oil this summer.

Kathryn McWhirter, from the No Fracking in Balcombe Society, said: “We all feel bullied by the Government’s collusion with the oil and gas industry.

“But we draw strength from our growing numbers, and from our unity.

“Mr Cameron should be very worried, because there are many traditional Conservative voters who are on our side and willing to stand up for their local environments and the climate.

“We’d like evidence from the Prime Minister that UK shale gas will bring down bills, a claim he has repeatedly made but failed to substantiate.”

Part of the campaigners’ letter read: “We have come to Downing Street to voice our concern at your enthusiasm for what we believe is a hazardous and poorly-regulated hydrocarbon extraction industry in Britain.

“Far from solving the UK’s energy woes, we believe your ‘greenest government ever’ is sanctioning an enormous gamble with environment and human health.”

It continues: “We argue that these industries cannot be properly regulated.

“Already they are allowed to self-regulate, once permits are stamped.

“Now you plan to silence local opinion while, in favour of the industry, centralising and simplifying rules for obtaining planning and permits.”