When I joined NO Dash For Gas in 2013, the group that later helped organise Reclaim the Power, I hadn’t heard of fracking at all. Coming from Manchester, I was well aware of rising fuel bills, of climate change and of a group of six companies that have a monopoly over our energy.

Thomas BarlowI was only interested in stopping these big 6 energy companies from having control over our lives, and finding alternatives so that we can control our own energy, control our own fuel bills and not be burning fossil fuels that need to stay in the ground.

Having now researched fracking and found out more since the Reclaim The Power camp came to Balcombe in West Sussex last year, I understand why so many of the residents of this gentle commuter town, and the other places we have visited across the country, are desperately trying to find a way to stop it happening anywhere in this country.

The risks to our health and to our environment are just far too great. The ” list of 6000 harmed” is just one way of understanding the potential devastation to the health of communities affected by fracking. If we allow there to be even a possibility (even by accident) of pollution to our water, land or air that could ruin the lives of the people we love, on such a densely populated island, then there must be exceptionally good reasons to start fracking.

There aren’t any.

Even the reasons that are trotted out by government (the heads of whom are good friends to the industry) fail by their own standards.

  • Fracking will not bring us energy security
  • It won’t be ready any time soon or provide us much energy.
  • Fracking will not reduce energy bills – Lord Browne admits.
  • Fracking will not bring us many jobs – we don’t have the skills, they will be short-term jobs, and we will destroy large numbers of jobs in the process.

 

For me, we have to create the change we want to see and reclaim the power so that it’s back in the hands of our communities – it is the only way to get cheaper bills, energy security and provide sustainable employment.

Thomas Barlow