Thanks to Morgan for this latest report from the Frack Free Isle of Wight group. Ed
More than forty Islanders came together on Saturday at Newport’s Unitarian Meeting House to learn more about the prospect of oil and gas drilling (fracking) on the Island and how such projects might be stopped.
The public meeting was hosted by Frack Free Isle of Wight, a group of concerned local residents united for a just, sustainable and climate-stable future for the Island.
Public concern has risen
Following the announcement of an oil exploration license being awarded to UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC (UKOG) in December, public concern and discussion of the possibility of fossil fuel extraction on the Island has risen.
Jon Ritchie, Ventnor resident and member of Frack Free Isle of Wight, said
“Unconventional oil and gas extraction has not been proven safe, infact time and time again it has polluted, disrupted and ruined people’s health and wellbeing.
“The Island is a particularly sensitive place, with unstable geology, fragile habitats and unsuitable infrastructure, we simply cannot allow it to happen here.”
The public meeting offered the opportunity for concerned Islanders to ask their questions about the proposed drilling, as well as learn some of the scientific, economic and social arguments against such projects.
Frack Free Isle of Wight also announced “Isle of Wight Line in the Sand”, an event on January 31 from 10-11am at Hanover Point Car Park at Compton Bay.
With this friendly and symbolic gathering open to all the group aims to gather as many Islanders as possible to show solidarity in the fight against fracking globally, and to demonstrate that they will oppose any attempt to drill on Isle of Wight soil.
Impact of fracking
For Sue Painting, and her husband Steve, residents of Totland Bay, the meeting brought to light plenty of new concerns,
“Had we known that the area we have moved to may become an oil or gas field, we wouldn’t have spent nearly £1/2 million on purchasing property here.”
Ruth Redman from Freshwater echoed these concerns,
“We moved here 12 months ago to enjoy the beautiful Island and had no idea about the possibility of drilling here. To think we could have a well of any sort on the Island is heartbreaking.”
The topic of oil and gas extraction is on this week’s Isle of Wight Council meeting agenda.