MOSCOW, December 16 (Sputnik) — Police in Kent, the United Kingdom, have abused their powers by asking Canterbury Christ Church University to provide the list of people that attended a fracking debate, a Green Party parliamentary candidate said Tuesday.
“I believe that your request is an abuse of your powers and I seek your formal apology and assurance that steps will be taken to ensure that this does not recur,” Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury and Whitstable, wrote in an open letter published on his website and sent to the Kent police.
In the letter, Jeffery also wrote that he was happy to have attended the debate, and that the police did not have any right to ask for the personal information on the attendees.
On Monday, The Guardian reported that Canterbury Christ Church University held a fracking debate on November 19. The discussion hosted professionals and as many as 200 listeners.
After the debate, the police requested a list of the participants, but the university declined the demand, noting that it "did not feel it was appropriate to provide the information,” according to The Guardian.
Hydraulic fracking is a technique of extracting shale gas by injecting pressurized liquid into soil. The method has sparked major controversy in Europe and the United States. Concerns over fracking include risks of contaminated groundwater, increased carbon emissions, caused by leaking methane gas, and even earthquakes induced by injections.
Fracking was suspended in the United Kingdom between June 2011 and April 2012 on account of several minor quakes it had caused. However, further research concluded that fracking could be resumed due to minimal risk of earthquakes.
According to the UK government, fracking could result in more national security in energy, as well as in more jobs and tax revenue. However, not every Briton is convinced, with fracking remaining a controversial issue in Britain and sparking street protests.