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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Pimbys have been spotted in Balcombe?

It was bound to happen.

Sixty of the residents of Balcombe are protesting against the shale gas protestors. After weeks of leaving the protestors their right to peaceful protest, some Balcombe residents have had enough. 

In an anonymous letter they express their "strong disapproval of the recent & continuing protests", while not believing that "exploratory drilling or properly regulated further exploitation will unduly damage our environment".

Are these people a rare sighting of that friendly, timid but stubborn bird, the PIMBY, with its mellifluous call which sounds something like "Please in my back yard"! 

Cynics have said that, with the promise of parish councils benefitting in cash from drilling and production, the PIMBY is thinking about feathering its nest. 

I prefer the simple explanation that common sense, as exemplified by the Balcombe Parish Council's clear evidence-based report on fracking, will win out in the end for the good of all. Farmers that have been shown around oil and gas production facilities in Canada return home as converts; not because they have been bribed with money, but because they have been shown it as it actually is, and not how extreme shalegasophobes paint it.

Importantly the authors warn "Let other communities be warned that our hitherto friendly village has suffered not only from the protesting crowds but prior to that from the intemperance of self-appointed  “ activists”, unfair abuse of our Parish Council, politicisation of the village fete, unsightly banners and, above all, spreading of unwarranted fear.

How many other parish councils will be reading this with trepidation, I wonder?

The authors' plea has gone out for "the Government, Local Authorities & the Industry to provide clear and easily understood  information on the rationale for developing a British shale oil & gas industry".

We, of course, try to do that in this blog, and all concerned academics ought to be part of the dissemination of such understanding. In particular, the call for public disclosure of data to the Prime Minister, and its follow-up, and in the Issues raised and discussed in the blog (e.g., earthquakes).

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