I was not an early adopter of the ‘Don’t Drill Leith Hill’ campaign. I just wasn’t sure. Didn’t we need oil to help us transition into the non- fossil future (that is what we are heading, whether we like it or not.)
So - as instructed by my father - I did a benefits and drawbacks analysis; I read; I researched; I listened to both sides.
And here are my conclusions:
I stand against oil prospecting (whether fracking or acidisation) on Leith Hill, Brockham and across the Weald.
I have looked for the benefits. I can’t find any for me, my family or my community, but I am open to persuasion.
I have also considered the drawbacks which seem to me as follows:
David Attenborough has left us no in doubt about the deterioration of our relationship with our planet. Now is the time to invest in renewable sources of energy.
We do not have the wide-open spaces between drilling sites like America, Canada and Australia. We do not have the space between areas of prospecting and habitation to run the risks of some of the negative impacts witnessed in those countries.
As a parent I don’t want to hand over yet another ‘cock up’ for my children’s generation to deal with such as mopping up any mess/mistakes made in the process (toxins leeching into the water table, pipes containing chemicals cracking/tankers spilling as they carry toxic waste from the site)
Any driver trying to cross or bypass Dorking will know we face massive challenges already. Add to that vehicles delivering the infra structure for the project, plus transporting water in (yes really) for the process, and waste out, will share my concerns.
And finally…yes as a NIMBY! The impact on the roads such as mine at the end of Coldharbour Lane will be significant: probable drop in house values and congestion being two of the key drawbacks.
However, I am willing to listen to Europa, the oil company responsible. I will be including a copy of this article with an invitation to them to come to our town and explain their evaluation of the benefits and drawbacks for our community. Transition Dorking will find the venue, the neutral chairperson and even foot the tea and biscuits bill.
Transition Dorking is part of the much larger Transition Movement, an international grass roots response to the challenges of sustainability and climate change. Find out more at www.transitiondorking.org.uk
By Sally Elias.
Published in the In Transition section of the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser.