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Sandwich MP Craig Mackinlay apologises over fracking claims

Sandwich MP Craig Mackinlay, pictured, has apologised for claims he made on his website that there was still a licence for fracking in Woodnesborough.

In an article about why he supported drilling for shale gas, he stated it would help the UK economy and create energy security. He also addressed some of the concerns that it may cause earthquakes claiming the chances are very small.

He stressed that as drinking water aquifers typically lie at about 300m below the surface and most fracking occurs at depths of 2k to 3k that it is unlikely to be affected.

Thanet South MP Craig Mackinlay
Thanet South MP Craig Mackinlay

East Kent Against Fracking criticised his piece for claiming this issue was of particular interest to him due to the licence from Coastal Oil and Gas in Woodnesborough.

When the company withdrew its application for Shepherdswell, Tilmanstone and Guston, it later relinquished the licence near Sandwich.

Responding to criticism, Mr Mackinlay said: “My research was out of date, for which I can only apologise. I relied upon articles in the Thanet Gazette and elsewhere. If they want to make a point about that then so be it.

“I think this shows that the local geology is wrong for the most common fracking methods that are suggested as suitable and possible elsewhere across the country.

“EKAF’s concerns about the potential for local fracking are therefore unfounded. My comments about the economic, energy security and environmental benefits of fracking to the country remain.”

Secretary of East Kent Against Fracking, John Clandillon-Baker, said his comments about Woodnesborough were “alarming for the hundreds of residents who, back in 2013, opposed CO&G’s application and in November last year were informed that CO&G had relinquished the Woodnesborough licence.”

He said: “Mr Mackinlay should read the government’s recently unredacted Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts report which identifies an adverse effect on house prices, increased HGV movements, noise and vibration with very little increase in local employment.

“He should also be aware that the epicentre of the recent Sandwich earthquake was located directly under the location where CO&G had planned to drill.”

EKAF member Julie Wassmer, added: “The chalk aquifer supplies up to 90% of our county with water so the people of South Thanet will continue to campaign against exploration and extraction in this area as well as to expect rather more from their MP than the ill-informed statements and comments he has offered recently.”

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