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Geologist to provide testimony against fracking company

Professor David Smythe, professor of Geophysics at Glasgow University, will provide his views on oil and gas drilling at a hearing in Sussex on Tuesday 22 July.

Drilling company Celtique Energie has applied to drill a test vertical borehole.

Prof Smythe will argue that the Council should view the application as an application to frack, as he sees no other end purpose to the test.

According to Jeremy Leggett, a former contemporary of Prof Smythe’s in UK geology, the test will create major risks. He said: “Faulting in the rocks of the Weald is up to 400 times greater than in US shale drilling regions. Gas and oil can and do migrate along faults, contaminating groundwater and leaking methane – a potent greenhouse gas – to the atmosphere”.

Mr Smythe has modelled truck movements in a small sample area of West Sussex, if Celtique were to find oil and remove the oil and waste water by tanker during the life of the production process.

At one bottleneck on a B road, he found that there would be one 30 tonne 3-axle truck passing in each direction every 3 minutes, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 20 years.

Mr Smythe argues the strain on countryside infrastructure would be intolerable. Based on this and other amenity considerations, he argues the erosion of house prices would be considerable.

The hearing takes place in Horsham, Sussex, on Tuesday 22 July at 10.30am. Tickets are required for entry.

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