Every day since last November a strange procession takes place near the village of Barton Moss in central England.
A gathering of resolute eco-activists and local residents march in step ahead of trucks coming in and out of a drilling site run by Britain’s Igas.
Their action is directed against exploration work that could uncover shale gas reserves in this rural area. If they cannot prevent the ‘fracking’, they aim to at least slow it down.
Local man Geoffrey Baxter expresses the concerns of many in the community: “This is the biggest threat we’ve ever had to the land; when they’re actually finished doing what they’re doing, the whole land’s going to be contaminated.”
Such are the fears over a controversial technique already being used in some countries where this relatively new energy resource has been discovered.
Yet the British government is one of a number across Europe who have given the green light to the search for shale gas on its territory.
Shale gas advocates claim it provides a readily available solution to Europe’s looming energy supply problems.
In this edition of Reporter Valerie Gauriat examines the worries of a local community and considers the potential benefits of this contentious new energy source.