A lot of people were packed quite tightly in at a recent Wells town hall meeting that talked about the fracking in Somerset where many towns people talked passionately about this prospect, along with ways to stop it. Although the alarm level was high, the variety of who showed up on a rainy weekday evening was striking.
There were teenagers, pensioners, parents with kids, and those from all walks of life who took the time to have their say. Some veterans of previous battles about environmental issues were front and center, but many others said this was the first time they showed much interest in green issues.
One such person was Laura Corfield, co-founder of a group in Keynsham, which is north-east of Somerset, was chairing the meeting. She said that it’s not just those who have been involved in such movements before who were concerned. Now landowners, farmers, church groups, health workers and more were expressing concern.
There were many topics brought up such as how this would affect the landscape, how it could affect livelihoods of farmers, how children would react, and other effects that could last for years to come. The focus of most concerns was around small parcels of land near northern Somerset, near the towns of Bristol and Bath, where petroleum exploration and development licences (PEDLs) were sold by the government.
Campaigners right now mostly fear that fracking could contaminate water and land supplies for many generations. Another concern is the disruption Bath could see to its famous hot springs.
This is not the first time such a campaign occurs in the UK, since last year Bridgend saw Wales invaded by a company called UK Methane which did a test drill in Keynsham. The company then withdrew its application before the Holidays because of heavy resistance from groups like Corfields Keynsham, Green party associations, and other activists.