Today many members of Cannock’s green party, myself included, took to the buzzing town centre and despite the cold snap, spend many hours petitioning and talking to the public about a topic that is of great concern; fracking of the Cannock chase forest.


Firstly a huge ‘well done’ not only to those that took part for collecting 277 signatures in just a few hours, but also to the citizens of Cannock for showing their concern and determination to pull together as a community by signing.


Before I go into detail about the day itself, allow me to explain in simple terms what exactly fracking is, and why we are protesting to prevent it in our forests.


Fracking is a process to obtain fossil fuels by drilling 10,000 feet into the ground,and inserting a fluid substance into the earth at a high pressure, which causes it to crack and release natural gas.


The 40,000 gallons of water used per fracturing is mixed with toxic carcinogens such as formaldyhyde and mercury, as well as 600 other chemicals; all of which seep out to contaminate the surrounding ground. Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing than in normal well sites, with over 1,000 documented cases of respitory and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.


Most frightening of all is that only 30%-50% of fracturing fluid is actually recovered, with the rest of the toxic liquid left to poison the ground for generations, as it is not biodegradable. Fluid that is recovered is merely dumped in pits to evaporate, releasing harmful volatile organic compounds into the air. 100% of the material used in fracturing is damaging pollutant.


It is a crucial topic that Green party leader Natalie Bennett fully supported during last week’s walk protest around chase water in order to oppose it.


What struck me personally was the willingness of Cannock people to engage in conversation when it came to saving our forests from such an awful fate. I had my clipboard literally snatched out of my hands by people proclaiming their hatred for fracking and their passion for saving the Chase.


The Chase has long been a part of the town’s identity, and we are all proud to have an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty just on our doorstep. Many of the people I spoke to expressed their affection for the area as an historical site as well as being a precious location of untouched nature. Comments ranged from “it’s a great place to walk the dog with the family” to “it’s a home for many of the local wildlife”.


What became clear was the sence of immense pride that was held by all generations of people I spoke to, from young teenagers who use the chase bike trails to the elderly who grew up in a town surrounded by trees. It was encouraging and refreshing to see locals so passionate about locating renewable sources of energy rather than funding outdated methods to dig for fossil fuels that that will, definatley, unarguably, run out.


If you missed our petition signing today, Then you can sign it here.