FRACKING in Hampshire will be the topic of a meeting in Hook.

Caroline Dibden, a former production geologist at Shell, will speak at Elizabeth Hall, in Raven Road, at 8pm on Thursday, April 10.

The event has been organised by the Hampshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Miss Dibden said: “I will be looking at these questions from the viewpoint of a practitioner. But I am also a campaigner, and believe passionately in the value of the countryside.

“Whichever side you take, shale gas is going to become a major issue for all of us. The public need better information on its potential role, as well as its dangers.”

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of extracting gas from shale rock using a high-pressure water mixture.

The process has proved controversial, with campaigners arguing that not enough is known on its environmental side effects.

Fracking has not taken place in north Hampshire, but there are layers of the earth where oil and gas can be found. This is centred on the Humbly Grove oilfield at Herriard, and there are oilfields either side of the B3349 at the Golden Pot junction near South Warnborough.

Event organiser Edward Dawson, a trustee of CPRE Hampshire, said: “We are keen to have a factual presentation on what hydraulic fracking actually is. Shale gas is thought to be a vast resource, but it also has to be safe to extract.”

Tickets cost £8 per person, and £10 for non-members, and include wine and soft drinks. For more information, call 01962 779185.