LONDON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A British environmental group complained statements coming from the federal government on natural gas production were out of step with community interests.
An exploratory drilling campaign planned by British energy company Cuadrilla Resources has sparked concerns about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking. The company said it has no plans for fracking in the area, though environmental groups have turned out in droves in the in the village of Balcombe, near the southeast coast, to protest the company.
Craig Bennett, a campaign director from Friends of Earth, responded to a statement from British Energy Minister Michael Fallon, who reportedly said Wednesday it's up to local communities to decide if they want to host fracking operations.
"If communities can decide whether to allow shale gas and oil exploration on their doorstep, why is drilling taking place at Balcombe despite overwhelming local opposition?" the director said in a statement.
Ewa Jasiewicz, spokeswoman for advocacy group No Dash for Gas, told the BBC her organization was committed to stopping Cuadrilla.
"We believe that Balcombe is a test case for rolling out fracking across the country," she said.
Cuadrilla would need a new permit if it decides to use hydraulic fracturing in Balcombe.