SCORES of people attended a meeting to find out more about the controversial fracking process, and what it could mean for York.
The meeting, held at the Priory Street Centre last night, was organised by Frack-Free York, Our Clean Energy Future, and visitors were shown a film explaining the fracking process – which drills for shale gas – and heard presentations from Dart Energy, Friends of the Earth and Frack-Free York.
More than 100 residents and green campaigners were present at the meeting, which also included a Q&A session with the speakers.
The film – The Truth About The Dash For Gas – focused on fracking stories from the USA and Australia, and gas and chemical problems which campaigners claim were caused by fracking.
Tony Bosworth, from Friends of the Earth, said that David Cameron "has become a cheerleader" for the process, despite ministers, including Energy Secretary Ed Davy claiming there was no reason to suspect it would lower household energy bills.
He said: "Gas won't be magically cheaper. If companies can get more by selling it abroad, they will."
Douglas Bain, UK general manager for Dart Energy, told the audience the priority was to extract the resources carefully and safely, and work with the community to maintain transparency and understanding.
He said: “It’s not my job to persuade you whether what we are doing is right, but to give you information for you to make your own mind up.
“The bottom line is despite anything you hear here tonight we need gas for at least the next 20 years, for your homes, for business, and for power generation, so the question for me is do we need gas from here, or buy it from overseas? If we can get it out of the ground carefully, safely and locally, than that’s what I would do.”
The meeting was originally intended to coincide with the last day of a month-long petition by Frack-Free York to City of York Council, requesting the authority oppose any extraction of fossil fuels from the area and prioritise clean renewable energy. The petition will now be presented to the council in April.
As reported in The Press yesterday, the Minerals and Waste section of the Local Plan has been put to public consultation for the second time by the council, with North Yorkshire County Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority to help outline sites for quarrying, mineral and gas extraction and waste disposal until 2030.
For more information on the mineral and waste consultation, go to northyorks.gov.uk/mwconsult
For more information from Frack Free email firstname.lastname@example.org
• On Friday, a similar meeting will be held by Frack Free North Yorkshire at the Friends Meeting House, Greengate, Malton, from 6.30pm.