This is a nightmare. The Tories just approved gas fracking licenses for over 10,000 hectares in over 300 sensitive wildlife habitat sites it promised to protect. That includes Bempton Cliffs, one of the largest seabird colonies in Europe.
303 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are included in the 159 onshore oil and gas licenses issued by the Conservative government last month. These are some of the most sensitive ecosystems in Britain that are so classified because they protect a rare species or habitat. David Cameron's response? Drill, baby, drill.
Shale gas fracturing or fracking is one of the most destructive methods of extracting fossil fuels we know. Dense rock is blasted with water and toxic chemicals at high temperatures to loosen and extract microscopic bubbles of natural gas. The process can permanently contaminate groundwater and lead to earthquakes. We shouldn't be pursuing it at all, let alone in some of Britain's most sensitive habitats.
Tell the UK government not to sacrifice our most important wildlife habitats for Big Oil's profits.
We've been fighting fracking in Britain for years now. Almost 150,000 SumOfUs supporters spoke up to keep oil and gas drilling out of our national parks. It should naturally follow that SSSIs are similarly protected -- in fact, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd promised exactly that in February. But that promise has been forgotten.
SSSIs make up less than one per cent of the over 1000 square miles just opened up for fracking by Cameron's Tories. The cost to Big Oil to protect these areas is miniscule -- but the cost to our environmental heritage if these habitats are damaged? Immeasurable.
Luckily, the licenses are far from finalized. The government still has a chance to fulfill its pre-election promise and protect SSSIs -- but if we don't make our voices heard, it will side with Big Oil and sign over these incredibly sensitive habitats to drilling, fracturing and destruction.
Join us and tell the Tories: No oil and gas drilling in our most sensitive ecosystems!
New wave of fracking licences threatens hundreds of key English wildlife sites, The Guardian, September 16, 2015
Over 300 of the UK's most important wildlife sites at risk from fracking, Blue and Green Tomorrow, Sept 16, 2015