This decision came after concerns being raised by the angling trust and other environmental and wildlife agencies regarding the harmful effects that surface fracking can have on the fish and other wildlife in the area. The government had earlier dropped the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) from the protected areas list (places where fracking was banned) mentioned in the Infrastructure Act which had created uproar among environmental and water groups as well as the angling trust.
Efforts for banning surface fracking in South Downs are being done since March, 2014 when two reports were published by the Fit to Frack coalition containing RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Angling Trust and many other partners. The question investigated in the report was whether we are ready to frack or not. It provided a thorough analysis of the fracking industry in both the US and the UK and examined the threats that the thriving UK fracking industry posed to the climate, watercourses, water supply and natural environment of the country. The report was studied by the Center for Ecology and Hydrology and concluded that fracking regulations must be improved in order to safeguard fisheries in particular and the natural environment at large.
The Angling Trust has remained very vocal on this matter and has reiterated many times its concerns regarding the watercourses which can get contaminated if any fracture occurs in the fracking pipes that will have to be drilled through the aquifers responsible for feeding the headwaters of the river system. The concerns of the angling trust aren’t misplaced as the US has been suffering with similar environmental problems because of having weak laws for its fracking industry. This is why the government’s intention to ban surface fracking in South Downs is seen as a good omen by the angling trust.
It is the hope of the angling trust that the government will remain steadfast on its decision to ban surface fracking in protected areas as well as SSSIs. To ensure this, they are encouraging people to respond to these proposals and persuade the government into making stricter laws regarding fracking. They are also working with other wildlife agencies and environmental groups in a bid to get the government’s attention towards the need of robust regulations for fracking. Their main agenda is to ensure that the fracking that takes place in the UK does not have any harmful effect on its watercourses, rivers and streams.
Thus, a possible ban on surface fracking in South Downs is a good initiative by the government which hopefully is going to materialize soon.