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Campaigners take fresh stand over bid to drill for oil in South Downs

Published in the Portsmouth News on the 16th November 2016

Story by, Miles O’Leary

 

OUR water supply and roads must be protected.

So say campaigners against controversial plans to drill for oil in South Downs National Park.

“Apart from the water issue, one of the concerns is, the roads near there are not safe enough” Jacinta Neal

Waving placards and armed with a ‘no drill, no spill, protect our national park’ banner at Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square, families voiced their disapproval over the bid by United Kingdom Oil and Gas Investments PLC (UKOG).

It’s applied to the South Downs National Park Authority to extract oil for the next 20 years at Markwells Wood, Forestside, near Rowlands Castle. Families say the ‘rewards’ aren’t worth it, and the impact on traffic was a big concern. Forestside resident Jacinta Neal said: ‘Apart from the water issue, one of the concerns is the roads near there are not safe enough.

‘They are narrow, used by ramblers, and having horse riders, cyclists and big lorries on the same road would be a major environmental hazard.

‘The amount of effort that would have to be put in, what with the amount of pressure that would need to be put into the ground, it’s not worth the rewards.’

Judith Haworth said: ‘I am a cyclist and my children go up the road where one of these HGVs would be coming down.

‘On some days, there would be 40 vehicle movements. Lots of cyclists are encouraged to come up to the park on their bike.

‘It’s incredibly dangerous.’

Ukip councillor Stuart Potter said: ‘It’s a threat to the water supply and the fact the company set up to start the exploratory work, I think is just a front for the bigger companies.’

A Ukip-led plan was accepted at a council meeting urging the chief executive to write to the South Downs National Park Authority and the MPs for Havant and Chichester highlighting concerns.

UKOG, meanwhile, insists it would be using ‘environmentally-friendly’ processes to extract oil, adding: ‘The existing oil well at Markwells Wood, which was drilled in 2010 and flowed oil for over six months during 2011 and 2012, had no impact on the chalk aquifer.’

*UPDATE* Markwells Wood is debated at Portsmouth City Council

Site at Markwells Wood

Site at Markwells Wood

A full meeting on the 15th November at Portsmouth City Council unanimously approved a motion embracing all parties to object to the drilling of oil and gas at Markwells Wood in South Down National Park.

Portsmouth joins Chichester City Council, Portsmouth Water and the Environment Agency, plus several Parish Councils and also 1400 residents. Havant Borough Council has been contacted by a councillor and asked to do the same.

There is still time to object before Thursday 17th November 2016. Click Here to find out more details of writing a letter of objection to the planning application on the Markwells Wood Watch website.

Markwells Wood Watch & Friends of the Earth has run a copybook campaign.

Keep it in the ground: What president Trump means for climate change

Donald Trump’s win could be catastrophic for the world’s climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed

Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

Published on The Guardian website on the 11th November 2016

 

This November is likely to have profound implications for climate change, but not in the way that was anticipated just a week ago. The Paris climate deal came into force on the 4th of November but Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump as US president casts an ominous shadow over the agreement and the chances of avoiding dangerous global warming.

Trump is a highly erratic figure, so predicting his actions can be problematic. But we do know that he wants to withdraw the US from the Paris accord, which aims to keep the global temperature increase below a 2C threshold, that he believes climate change to be a “hoax” and that Barack Obama’s warning that global warming is a threat on a par with terrorism was “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics.”

Obama’s climate legacy, and the tools he used to force down emissions, are set to be torn apart by Trump once he enters the White House. Contentious oil pipelines such as Keystone and Dakota Access will likely be approved. Clean energy funding will be slashed. The world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter will look to prop up coal, rather than renewables, to power its future. Read Oliver’s report today for the full story.

This could prove catastrophic for the world’s climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed into an excuse to slack off in cutting emissions. Already, the 2C threshold looks in severe peril. The 8th of November could be the day when tens of millions of people were condemned to an unlivable environment. A Trump u-turn on this matter, at least, would be welcomed by those most at risk.

Oliver Milman, US environment correspondent

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