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Leaked document reveals new fracking proposals in Tilmanstone, Kent

By Eleanor Perkins

A letter revealing controversial plans for exploratory drilling in Tilmanstone has been leaked to a member of East Kent Against Fracking.

The letter written by chef executive of Coastal Oil & Gas, Gerwyn Williams, was discovered days after a debate on fracking at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was a panellist and which also heard that the geology of the UK was too fractured for the extraction of oil and gas to be carried out safely.

East Kent Against Fracking member Julie Wassmer, who was also on the debate panel, said: “I challenged him to tell everybody there where he was next going to drill and he wouldn’t tell us.”

Members of East Kent Against Fracking (EKAF)
Members of East Kent Against Fracking (EKAF)

When asked about Discovery Park, Mr Williams did confirm he was niotlooking there, instead at more industrial zones.

The leaked letter stated: “Guston, Sheperdswell and Woodnesborough have all been surrendered but we have retained Tilmanstone area.

“I need to go through the process of telling Kent County Council and the district and parish councillors as a matter of courtesy before holding a public meeting. Our intention is to drill an exploration hole in the coal measures. There are 14 main coal seams in Kent, Numbers 1-7 were fairly well worked but 8-14 are more or less unworked so we want to sample these lower seams.”

Issues that emerged during the debate was the serious threat to 70% of Kent’s water, and the threats to food production and tourism.

East Kent Against Fracking chairman Rosemary Rechter said: “It is ironic that this news should come so soon after a debate that so completely trounced the arguments for fracking.”

Mrs Wassmer, who has raised concerns for Tilmanstone Salads, questioning how an environmental award-winning food processing business that employed around 800 people in 2013 could possibly coexist with an industry which threatened water contamination and air pollution, also explained that Coastal Oil & Gas withdrew their applications to drill in Tilmanstone, Guston and Shepherdswell in November 2013 and would therefore need to re-submit an application to go forward with it.

She said: “Drilling anywhere in Kent will be fiercely fought. We’ve even more educated to the effects of fracking now. He’s going to have his work cut out.”

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