"It is a good 20 years since I last drove all the way to Scotland, and in the interim something unbelievable has been done - in our name - to our green, pleasant and precious countryside.
"I mean the windmills, the turbines - whatever they are called. I mean the things that look like some hideous Venusian invasion, marching over the moors and destroying the dales; the colossal seaside toys plonked erratically across our ancient landscape; the endless parade of waving white-armed old lunatics, gesticulating feebly at each other across the fields and the glens.
"They seemed to be everywhere, and I asked myself, when were we consulted? Was there a referendum? Did someone ever warn the British people that these moaning seagull slicers were going to be erected on some of the most sensational scenery that God ever called into being?
Anti-fracking protesters have blockaded the headquarters of energy company Cuadrilla while others have superglued themselves to a PR company used by the firm.
The action at Cuadrilla in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and at PR firm Bell Pottinger in central London comes on the first of two days of "mass civil disobedience" which campaigners have pledged to carry out to highlight their stance against fracking.
Fracking in the UK has up to now predominantly been in the north of England but now the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates areas across the Wessex and Weald basin in Surrey and Sussex may hold 700 million barrels of recoverable shale oil, or more than a year’s supply for Britain.
“The rock in the Weald is splendid, it’s extremely good for shale oil,” said Fivos Spathopoulos, a visiting lecturer of petroleum geology at London’s Imperial College who studied the basin for about seven years. “If it works, it’ll be big but we won’t know exactly how big until we drill.”
Currently the proposed site closest to London is in Balcombe in West Sussex, between Brighton and London. The shale gas company Cuadrilla is to carry out exploratory drilling there in the summer, despite local protests.
However, politicians have suggested that communities who will suffer from the noise and disruption caused by shale gas drilling will be compensated.
Hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as 'fracking' - is a technique in which a mixture is injected at high pressure into holes drilled in shale to locate gas or petroleum.
In a letter to the Times newspaper today, Boris Johnson wrote:
"Sir, Many people have not yet wokenup to the reality that the population of London is now growing faster than anycity in Europe. As I make clear in our 2020 Vision, this demographic explosionis placing huge demands on our infrastructure — including power generation.
It is a tragic comment on Labour’s failure to plan ahead that in only two years our electricity capacity headroom (the difference between demand and supply) will be down to 2 per cent.
We will have to ask some of our more energy-intensive industries not to operate at peak times, the kind of policy we last saw in the 1970s.
It is time for maximum boldness in energy supply. I fully support the Government’s drive for nuclear power, and if reserves of shale can be exploited in London we should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked, in the cause of keeping the lights on."