Beautiful Photos of English Countryside Threatened by Fracking

Beautiful Photos of English Countryside Threatened by Fracking

The picturesque town of Balcombe in West Sussex is the latest area to be the center of controversy over fracking.
February 23, 2016, 1:00pm

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Fracking: a process of giving mother earth a particularly lucrative sort of enema. You pump the ground with water and chemicals in order to fracture it, allowing shale gas to escape. On the plus side, you get your hands on another sweet, sweet fossil fuel. On the downside, fracking has been associated with environmental and health problems and the potential contamination of drinking water.

The picturesque town of Balcombe in West Sussex, England, has been a focus of fracking activity in the UK. In summer 2013, fracking company Cuadrilla was allowed to drill near there, despite protests from angry locals, eco-warriors, and Vivienne Westwood.

Photographer Leonidas Toumpanos took a series of beautiful shots of the Sussex countryside, as well as portraits of locals who live off the land and are worried about their livelihoods. The project was done on film, some of which was then buried underground.

Adrian Brewer, 55, farmer. “The 100-acre farm is a livestock farm of 40 beef cattle, 50 sheep, and pigs. Our locality is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We produce meat on a small scale, making sure of good animal welfare, and sell it locally. The abattoir is nearby. We do not like the idea of fracking. We think that the underground water will be accidentally poisoned, ruining this beautiful countryside. They will need thousands of liters of water in order to frack, where will this come from? There will be too much traffic and disruption installing the water pipes. Some states in the USA, and some countries in Europe, have banned fracking. Why? We should be using coal, in which the UK is rich, and advanced methods of carbon capture, instead of fracking.”

Emma Goodwin, no-dig horticulturalist, agro-ecologist, designer, and paleo coach. On Fracking: "It is inherently wrong. It's selfish and dangerous to inject our mother earth with toxins, leaving future generations to clean up the mess. Mercilessly extracting what is easily available from renewable sources is just plain idiotic."

Phil Kay, musician, comedian, shepherd, author. “Fracking marks the descent into hell, it means the risk of irreversible contamination of water flowing underground. It means hell for the countryside; widening of roads, pipe laying, huge lorries, noise, industrial filth and the diminishment of land rights. Fracking has emerged as a result of greed and fear. We need innovation and courage.”