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Fracking fears highlighted by Campaign for the Protection of Rural England amid concerns to county's aquifer and water supplies

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A far-reaching report on the potential dangers of fracking in Kent has been submitted to a Commons select committee.

CPRE Kent (Campaign to Protect Rural England) claims the controversial practice could damage the aquifer which supplies nearly three-quarters of the county's water.

It outlined its fears to the environmental audit committee, which is carrying out an inquiry into the potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions and habitats.

CPRE Kent said the gas and oil deposits in Kent are just 600-700m below the aquifer, the chalk of the North Downs.

There is also risk, they claim, that geological faults in the area would be re-activated, allowing gases and fracking fluids to leak into the chalk and contaminate the water supply.

The charity has produced a detailed report on the water resource implications of shale gas and oil exploration in east Kent and the Weald.

Experts say there are areas of weakness along fractures in the rocks.

These are the sites of earthquakes that have happened over 200 million years, but are still regarded as active - as recently as the 2007 Folkestone quake, which measured 4.3 on the Richter scale.

The licensed area - which covers Woodnesborough, Tilmanstone and Shepherdswell - also features up to 10 public supply boreholes.

These would be at risk, the charity claims, if any contanimated fluids escaped as a result of fracking.

Hydrauling fracturing (fracking) involves the injection of water, sand or a chemical mix under high pressure in order to break up the shales and release the trapped methane.

"We fear the potential danger to Kent's water supply is too big a risk" - Hilary Newport

The charity is concerned the practice could fracture and disrupt rocks and reactivate faults.

This could lead to gases and fracking fluids entering the tributary streams of the Rivers Great Stour, Little Stour and Dour.

CPRE Kent director Hilary Newport said: "We have submitted strong arguments backed by scientific evidence to the environmental audit committee detailing our very serious concerns about fracking.

"We fear the potential danger to Kent's water supply is too big a risk."

All those contributing to the environmental audit committee's inquiry have until New Year's Eve to respond.

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