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Dame Vivienne joins frack protest
Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood spoke out against hydraulic fracturing as she joined anti-fracking protesters at their camp in Balcombe.
She marched past energy firm Cuadrilla's exploratory oil drilling site in West Sussex which has been the focal point of fracking protests.
Up to 1,000 protesters are due to join the six-day Reclaim the Power Camp on the outskirts of the village to highlight opposition to the controversial extraction method.
Surrounded by activists, Dame Vivienne called for a public debate on fracking and said she believed it could store up trouble financially and environmentally for generations to come.
She said: "I'm anti-fracking and I'm here to protest. There has been no debate. They are trying to rush this thing through, for what?
"It's not going to go away. We don't know whether it will do good or bad. I'm sure it's bad and the only people who are going to benefit from it is this energy company who are associated with the Government.
"They all have vested interests. It's kind of a club. They just do it to boost the companies. It will never go into our bills. In fact it won't supply energy security whatsoever. It will actually store up trouble for the future, financially as well as environmentally."
Dame Vivienne added: "I'm really against the idea that the Government is trying to push through legislation so that the councils can't even stop them. Who do they think they are when I would say most of the country is really against fracking, particularly at this point in time when we don't know what is at stake. You can't push it through."
Meanwhile, Cuadrilla said it respected the right to peaceful protest and planned to resume operations as soon as it is safe.
Chief executive Francis Egan said: "Cuadrilla's exploration work at Balcombe involves drilling a conventional oil well. External groups protesting against hydraulic fracturing at Balcombe do so without any work proposal from Cuadrilla to judge. Any hydraulic fracturing proposal would require a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment, public consultations and multi-agency regulatory reviews, all of which would be available for scrutiny."