Sheffield rock climber speaks out against fracking
A rock climber from Sheffield has spoken out about the importance of nature and outdoor spacesÂ and the need to protect them from fracking.
InternationalÂ rock climber Pete Whittaker returnedÂ to Wharncliffe Crag '“Â a popular climbing spot nearÂ Sheffield '“Â which isÂ close to land that is licensed for potential fracking.Â
Pete, who is a brand ambassador for Patagonia,Â produced a candid video outlining his objections to the expansion of shale-gas extraction.
Talking about his connection to the outdoors, and the threats to nature posed by fracking, Pete said:Â 'For me, nature is about being outside and challenging myself on new climbing routes. The most important thing about nature is that it's there for everybody '“ nobody owns it.
'Wharncliffe Crag is an amazing nature spot, that was at the forefront of UK rock climbing as it developed in the 1880s. The place is popular to this day among climbers, walkers, bikers, trail runners and more. Just two hundred metres to the east and west, the land is licensed for fracking.
'Anyone who loves the English countryside should be concerned about fracking, and I think we should stand up for our environment.
'It makes me sad to think that there are companies out there who can only see nature as something to be exploited for profit '“ they're completely blind to its importance for our health and well being.'
Eckington, which lies just past Sheffield's border,Â has also been at the centre of the national fracking debate since the nearby village of Marsh Lane was earmarked as a potential drilling site two years ago.
A recent planning inquiry was set up to decide a matter ruling in favour of petrochemical giant Ineos drilling in the area, but campaigners have refused to give up and are fighting back.
And,Â just days agoÂ anti-fracking protester Simon Roscoe Blevins of Burngreave, and two other men wereÂ freed from prison afterÂ successfully challenging prison sentences imposed after they were convicted of causing a public nuisance outside a fracking site in Lancaster.
FrackingÂ is a process to extract shale gas or shale oil, by using aÂ mixture of water and chemicals which isÂ blasted deep into the ground to release the gas.
Critics claim it will damage the environment but Ineos has said it could help meet the UK's energy demands.
Over seventeen thousand square kilometres of England is covered by oil and gas exploration licences, which critics say could put large parts of the countryside, including countless areas enjoyed by climbers, walkers, mountain bikers and more at risk of industrialisation.
California-based brand Patagonia, noted for its environmental campaigning, joined Friends of the Earth in supporting Whittaker's call for an end to fracking.
Friends of the Earth haveÂ created aÂ petitionÂ to help communities fight against the process.