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Fracking firm’s permission extended in West Sussex

Words: Laura Edgar
Fracking / iStock_000022131270

West Sussex County Council’s planning committee has approved Cuadrilla’s application to flow test and monitor an existing exploration well at the company’s site at Lower Stumble, Balcombe.

The company said the permission covers the same scope of work as the previous permission, which was granted in 2014, against great opposition.

The company scrapped its plans to flow test but recently applied for permission.

Cuadrilla said the well does not require hydraulic fracturing as the rock is naturally fractured.

“The flow testing Cuadrilla is looking to undertake will measure the rate at which oil flows from the well.”

Planning permission has to be implemented by 2021. Once work begins, it must be completed within two years, including plugging the well with cement and fully restoring the site.

“We will establish a local Community Liaison Group and consult with residents, at the appropriate time, before work commences,” added the company.

Campaigners at Friends of the Earth noted that the site is located in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Brenda Pollack, South East campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said the approval is “devastating news” for villagers.

“Where is the democracy when over 2,700 people objected to Cuadrilla returning to this beautiful rural part of Sussex?

“Whether it’s fracking or not, dirty fossil fuels must be left in the ground. Allowing companies to drill underground for ever more difficult-to-extract oil and gas reserves is crazy when it won’t help keep polluting emissions down. We need to see a much bigger push for a cleaner future without an over-reliance on oil. Cleaner transport measures and reducing car and lorry movements is the way forward.”

Image credit | iStock