The Bentley Effect motivates Pulborough

Australian anti-fracking community leaders tour Sussex and the UK to bring hope and support for action against oil/gas exploration threat

The leaders of the most successful resistance to oil and gas as development in Australia packed out Pulborough Village Hall and a Brighton venue, at the start of a UK tour of their film the Bentley Effect. The documentary shows what a small rural community in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales were able to do. Their protests led to the Government recalling the license.

Experienced activists and community leaders Ian Gaillard and Simon Clough and filmmaker Brendan Shoebridge paid tribute to their community. They crowdfunded their trip to show their award-winning film that shows how they took on the energy giants and won. Following the successful events in Sussex they encouraged those present to take non-violent direct action too.

Film-maker Brendan Shoebridge said they were keen to start in Sussex as he used to live in the South Downs at Ditchling outside Brighton: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard, after our long fight in Australia that this beautiful part of the world that I know and love, is facing a similar threat. I’ve given up so much to make this film over seven years and believe it can help to inspire others to devote time and energy to stop the threats to their countryside too.”

Campaigner Ian Gaillard added: “We believe we have a critically important message of hope to deliver to threatened communities here in the UK. These communities have been ground down by government support for the frackers, strong arm police tactics and a very negative political environment.”

Several exploratory sites exist in the south of England including Broadford Bridge at Adversane near Billingshurst, Horse Hill in Surrey, Markwell’s Wood and Lidsey near Bognor Regis, placing much of the Weald under threat.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free said:

After seeing the Bentley Effect and meeting these Australian heroes we know what we have to do. It will require a lot of work, commitment and noise from masses of people, but we intend to drum up that level of support to stop this dangerous drilling from going ahead.”

Newsletter 8th May

KBBF Newsletter 11
8 May 2017

First of all, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to our Public Meeting in Pulborough on Sunday 30th April. What a fantastic turn out – well over 150 people, concerned about what’s happening to their local area.

The speakers gave very clear presentations drawing attention to a range of issues. Many of you were surprised to learn that the Broadford Bridge site is located near a fault, a gap in the ground, which Dr Roger Smith from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, CPRE, explained could mean that any liquids/chemicals could transfer, through the system of faults to the public water supply via the River Arun.

Professor David Smythe outlined not only the geology but the flawed economics, explaining that many of the US companies are in debt, with the onshore oil and gas companies representing nothing but a massive Ponzi scheme.  See his ‘Ten Questions to Ask KOGL About Broadford Bridge’ via the link below.

Tom Broughton from Transition Chichester emphasised what communities could do to produce their own forms of energy and Nicola Peel stressed the environmental consequences especially for the climate. See Nicola’s excellent talk again here:
Please pass it on to others interested in the issues who were unable to attend the meeting.

See the excellent Drill Or Drop report on the meeting. Including links to David Smyth’s “Ten questions to ask KOGL”.

And on our response to the UKOG Letter that was delivered to the event and to local residents two days before saying we were ‘scaremongering’.

Many of you at the meeting asked for contact details for you to email your concerns and questions to:

Leader of WSCC:
Louise Goldsmith, Louise.goldsmith@westsussex.gov.uk

WSCC Planners:  
Jane Moseley Jane.moseley@westsussex.gov.uk
Chris Bartlett – Chris.bartlett@westsussex.gov.uk

MP for Arundel and South Downs:
Nick Herbert nick@nickherbert.com
MP for Horsham
Jeremy Quin: jeremy@jeremyquin.com

One MEP very much on our side is
Keith Taylor, keithtaylor@greenmeps.org.uk
Have a look at Keith Taylor’s excellent leaflet on acidisation if you haven’t seen it already:

The four main issues at Broadford Bridge to write to them about are as follows. Choose the one or more that upsets you most and write about it to them in your own words:

1. What permission was given for – this has substantially changed to include new processes not in the original application, such as acidisation and nitrogen lifting. We argue that WSCC should demand a new planning application involving public consultation.

2. The environmental and health impacts associated with the new proposals are greater. Extra impacts would occur in association with the proposed acidisation process which have not been assessed in the Environmental Statement:

  • Chemical use is even greater in acidisation than in hydraulic fracking.
  • Solid and liquid waste will be toxic, highly saline and radioactive, a risk to groundwater, surface water and soil should accidents occur.
  • The EA Midlands office stated that there are no suitable disposal facilities in southern England.
  • The risk of spills and other accidents.
  • Wells may be acidised repeatedly and there is little research on the subject of repeated acidisation, the cumulative effect on our environment and human health.
  • Lack of transparency – e.g. location of “disposal facility” and information limited on transport, cumulative impacts of chemical usage.
  • Absence of discussion of these issues in the Environmental Statement (ES) originally submitted by Celtique Energie.

3. The lack of public consultation about these new plans. There has been no information session provided by WSCC or KOGL. There was a display held in Billingshurst in 2012 before Celtique Energie applied for permission BUT nothing has been said about these new and very different plans.

4. Lack of effective monitoring programme for air, water, soil or health of people and livestock.  Without such baseline monitoring how will people know how such a proposed drilling operation is affecting them?

The Bentley Effect: UK Film Premier plus Q&A with Director and Lock the Gate Alliance,  Australia
Pulborough Village Hall, RH20 2BF

Friday 12 May 6.30-9pm

One another note, we hope to see many of you at the screening of The Bentley Effect, on Friday 12th May, 7pm start at Pulborough Village Hall again.

When the coal seam gas industry staked a claim on the Northern Rivers shire of Australia, alarm bells rang out. A critical mass of people from all walks of life – farmers, landowners, mums, dads, activists, scientists – organised themselves to rally against the unconventional gas invasion.

Filmed over five years, The Bentley Effect documents the highs and lows of the battle to keep a unique part of Australia gasfield-free. This timely story of a community’s heroic stand shows how strategic direct action and peaceful protest from a committed community can overcome industrial might and political short-sightedness.

Various sites in the south of England are about to be drilled – Broadford Bridge, UKOG’s Horse Hill site at Horley, possibly Balcombe. Others such as Leith Hill and Markwells Wood are going through regulatory permissions. Much of the Weald is under threat: this story could be ours. Come and be inspired to take action! There will be a Q&A session following the film with the filmmakers who have travelled to the UK to bring the film here. For more about the film go to: http://www.thebentleyeffect.com

Doors open 6.30pm, screening 7pm til 8.30. Q&A to 9.00pm. Food and drinks available. More info’ about the screening go here 

Saturday gatherings 2-4pm near drill site, RH14 9JH

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free are determined not to let this beautiful area become industrialized by fossil fuel extraction. If you, like us, are concerned please come along and give your support to us at the Adversane Crossroads, outside the Blacksmith Arms between 2pm and 4pm this Saturday. Together we, as locals, need to have our questions answered.

Thanks so much for your continued support.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free

Connect with us  
keepbillingshurstfrackfree@mail.com