Public debate on fracking at CCCU – post-event blog

By Matthew Ogilvie

On Wednesday 19th November 2014 the Sociology Programme hosted its ‘Public Debate on Fracking in the UK’ as part of it’s Engaging Sociology initiative. The two hour event took place in Augustine House and involved a panel of notable experts and campaigners debating whether high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) should take place in the UK. After each panellist gave a short presentation, the debate was driven by questions from the floor.

The evening was an unqualified success. We estimate that some 300 people attended. The audience was made up of citizens from the local community and further afield, including Northern Ireland, the South West, the North West and France. Though passions boiled over on a number of occasions, for the most part people listened attentively and respectfully and asked informed and probing questions. There was a strong local press presence, and the debate was filmed by a five person film crew, all of which added to a great atmosphere. We also received press coverage before and after the event. Please see the following links:

Fracking Debate Tonight at Christ Church University in Canterbury – Kent Messanger

‘Fracking in Kent Unsafe’ says Fracking Expert – Canterbury Times

Debate between panellists Julie Wassmer and Nick Riley on BBC Radio Kent

Canterbury Fracking Debate – Drill or Drop

Fracking meeting sees both sides applying the pressure – Kent on Sunday

Leaked document reveals new fracking proposals in Tilmanstone, Kent – Kent Messenger

fracking panel 1

We would like to express our thanks to our panel of experts and chair who contributed to an informative, interesting and exciting night. In the picture above, from left to right these are: Dr Nick Riley MBE; Professor David Smythe; Mike Hill; Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser (chair); Gerwyn Williams; Professor Paul Stevens; Councillor Ian Driver; and Julie Wassmer. Please view their profiles on following links: downloading our speaker bio pdf / Read Janet Haddock-Fraser’s full profile. 

We would also like to thank our students for volunteering their time and effort to help with setting up, dealing with audience lists and looking after our guests. In the picture below, these are, from left to right sitting: Neil Armitage (staff); Emma Pole; John Bambury; and Richard Leahy, and from left to right standing: Matthew Ogilvie (staff and organiser); Jayren Dempsey; and Alexander Waymark. Finally, our gratitude also goes out to John McGuire and his film crew for filming the event. John’s team are currently working on an edit. If you would like to see a recording of the event in the meantime please click on the following YouTube link:

fracking student and staff

We will make the edited version available as soon as it is ready.

Our Engaging Sociology initiative is keen to make the Sociology current, thought-provoking and of practical value. In addition to our ‘Public Debate on Fracking’ we have a number of initiatives and upcoming events that do all these things. Please take a look at our Engaging Sociology webpage for further information:





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