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Energy company in bid for licence to 'frack' for gas under Brent housing estate

London Local Energy hope to drill for shale gas in the borough but the council is vehemently opposed to fracking

A London energy company is hoping to extract shale gas in Brent by fracking, three years after campaigners opposed the plans.

London Local Energy has released a renewed bid to obtain an exploration licence and gather support for hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, in the Stonebridge area of Brent.

 

 

Nick Grealy, CEO of London Local Energy, who is supported by four geologists, has applied for a licence from the Oil and Gas Authority.

He said: "It'll cut the carbon footprint at least in half.

"When we import we are paying that country or company for that.

A test site for 'fracking' or hydraulic fracturing which could be seen in Brent(Image: PA)

 

"For example, in Brent, all we'd need is 1000sqm.

"Just one building. People would see nothing as it would all be contained within the building.

"Oil was discovered in NW10 in 1912 but nobody pursued it because the only way to extract it was through oil field valves.

"We would drill an ultra slim core hole which would then go down a mile or so, about three inches wide at the surface.

"It's completely unintrusive."

Friends of the Earth Brent held a fracking protest outside Willesden Green Underground Station back in 2014

 

Local authorities have been quick to speak out against the plans, including the councillor for the Stonebridge ward in Brent.

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala said: “I am very concerned by the prospect of fracking taking place in Stonebridge, which is one of the most densely populated areas in London.

"Residents are already having to deal with high levels of air pollution. This will only make things worse.

"We also don’t know if this going to be safe for the area. The estate has a number of tower blocks and residents will be genuinely worried about safety issues such as fire safety if fracking was to take place right next to their homes.

"We should instead be focusing on building for the future and leading the way on renewable energy by providing jobs and opportunities, especially for young people in a cleaner and greener London.”

A fracking exploration drilling site(Image: PA)

 

But Mr Grealy believes there "doesn't appear to be any" public opposition to fracking in the borough.

He added: "I feel a lot of people are misinformed about fracking.

"There would be community benefits of £9m a year for the borough that allows it.

"It's way too early for public consultation but we are trying to make the community better and we would like to speak to them and to the council.

"There is far more possibility for good than harm."

Brent Council maintains that it is "absolutely opposed to fracking".

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, lead member for environment, said:“We made our position clear in 2013 and this remains unchanged.

"Any approach by would-be-frackers is not welcome.”

 

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