from the Church Times, Aug 23, 2013
FRACKING may not yet have tested the thickness of his rectory walls, as suggested by the “light-hearted” Energy Minister Michael Fallon, but it has already caused emotional tremors in the parish of the Priest-in-Charge of Balcombe, the Revd Desmond Burton.
On Monday, he described how the drilling of an oil exploration well in the West Sussex village had divided parishioners. Protesters, who have arrived in their hundreds, fear that the drilling by Cuadrilla, an oil and gas company, is the precursor to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), whereby water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected at high pressure into rock deep beneath the earth’s surface, to release gas.
“People in the village who have been good friends, because of fracking issues have fallen out quite strongly,” Mr Burton said. “This is a village that tends to accommodate, quite maturely, differences of opinion. . . People in our village who have become anti-frackers are genuinely taken over by deep concern for the environment – almost an evangelical zeal.” He said that the church in Balcombe was “completely neutral” on the issue, but that “the issue of global warming is one that virtually all of the village is united in being concerned about.” One farmer’s field had been “commandeered” by protesters, causing “genuine anger”.