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The Campaign to Protect Rural England has sent a report to Minister of State for Energy in bid to exclude east Kent

By Victoria Chessum

Campaigners against fracking have issued a report to Minister of State for Energy Matthew Hancock in a bid to exclude east Kent.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Kent believes hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at the four potential drilling sites – Shepherdswell, Guston, Tilmanstone and Woodnesborough – could damage the aquifer which supplies 70% of the county’s water.

The gas and oil deposits are no more than 600-700m below the aquifer, the chalk of the North Downs.

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The group fears that geological faults in the area would be reactivated allowing gases and fracking fluids to leak into the chalk and contaminate water supply.

CPRE Kent vice president Richard Knox-Johnston said: “Water resources in Kent are already seriously stressed.

'Water resources in Kent are already seriously stressed' - CPRE Kent vice president, Richard Knox-Johnston

"There is a danger that if fracking went ahead we could damage the aquifer that provides most of the county’s water.

“Plus, we fear that water supply boreholes could be damaged causing pollution which would threaten public health as well as harm environmental quality, agriculture and habitats.”

He stressed that CPRE is not opposed to fracking, but the particular geology and location of the aquifer in east Kent make it a special case.

The licence applications were due by 2pm on the October 28 for companies seeking to explore for onshore oil and gas. The licences provide the first step to starting drilling – but do not give absolute agreement to drill.

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