Land to the north of Uckfield is included in an area offered by the Department of Energy and Climate for bids for onshore oil and gas licences.
The area also includes Maresfield, Crowborough, Newick and Heathfield.
A map showing the extent of the site available for licensing in East Sussex was shown at a meeting in Uckfield last night where ex-oil executive Ian R Crane gave a talk on fracking – a process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
The meeting was one of three organised by Lin Pollard from Dallington with five friends, mothers and grandmothers. The others are to be held in Heathfield and Hailsham.
Mr Crane asked for donations on behalf of the organisers who were funding the costs of the meetings, and refreshments, themselves. He said they had been regular visitors at Balcombe during anti-fracking protests and were determined to continue to raise awareness of the hazards of the process.
Mr Crane is described on his own website as being “completely self-funded”.
The website also says: “The views expressed in his talks and DVDs are based entirely upon his personal knowledge and research. Prior to his retirement from the corporate arena, Ian enjoyed a career of 25 years in telecommunications and international oilfield services, a career that provided the opportunity to live and work in the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Houston, Texas.”
In his talk, to a packed audience, at the Luxford Centre Mr Crane outlined his concerns about the risks of fracking including water, soil and air contamination, water shortage, seismic events, a crash in property prices, no building insurance and large areas of the UK potentially becoming inhabitable.
He said no matter how many arguments there were in favour of fracking they were outweighed by the risk of contamination to “our most precious resources”.
He gave examples of the effects of fracking where it was widespread in Southern Queensland, Australia, and North Dakota in the USA.
He told of a farmer in Southern Queensland who claimed his livelihood and life had been destroyed in the six years he had lived with the industry. Now the farmer is converting a bus for himself and his wife, his son and daughter-in-law and their two children to travel around Australia to ensure that everybody else in areas targeted for fracking knows what to expect.
Mr Crane said that in North Dakota which was 40% bigger than England but has a population about 60% of the population of Devon there was a piece of wilderness in the north west of the state which was lit up like New York or Los Angeles because of the flares from wells.
He said that Queensland was seven times the size of the UK and in Southern Queensland 3,000 wells had been drilled in the last three years.
“If the British Government target is to be achieved the amount of gas it wants from shale will need a lot more than 3,000 wells. It will need 30,000+ wells,” he added.
East Sussex County Council has published a document giving answers to frequently asked questions about fracking. It can be seen here: Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
Some information from that document can be seen in the Uckfield News story carried in advance of the Uckfield meeting: Meeting to be held in Uckfield about Fracking.
Ian Crane recommended watching his You Tube video Fracking Nightmare Episode 18 to hear from the South Queensland farmer mentioned in his Uckfield talk.