Court date set for 19th and 20th July
A statutory review of the government’s decision to grant planning permission for oil exploration is to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 19th to 20th July this year.
In March 2021, all 13 members of West Sussex County Council’s planning committee unanimously voted to refuse to grant Angus Energy planning permission to test an oil well in Balcombe. This followed a decade-long planning battle, with much-reported public protests and thousands of local objections.
But in February 2023, despite the government’s net zero targets, a central government planning inspector overruled the council’s decision and as a result Secretary of State Michael Gove was able to declare that Angus Energy’s oil well testing could go ahead.
Angus now have permission to carry out an extended well test, to attempt to pump water out of the flooded well and then see if enough oil can flow to make the site commercially viable.
FFBRA fundamentally objects to Angus returning to Balcombe, blighting our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty while being hazardous to the health of local people, animals and wildlife. The exploration would entail 24/7 flaring of gases only 350m from the closest residents. There would be heavy, polluting traffic passing the school, and risk to the River Ouse and Ardingly reservoir. Testing or extraction at the site would feed our reliance on fossil fuels at a time when we are facing a climate emergency.
FFBRA has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise £35,000 for the legal challenge. More than £22,000 has been raised so far.
Our Resident’s Association is challenging the Planning Inspector’s decision to allow Angus Energy to flow test in Balcombe overturning the previously refused planning permission from 2020. We need everyone to help us challenge this.
Our crowdfunding page “Stop Oil Exploration in Balcombe, Sussex” is live on CrowdJustice https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-balcombe-oil/ please pledge whatever you can.