How to respond to West Sussex County Council about Angus Energy’s new 3 year planning application.
The story so far:
In 2013, Cuadrilla Resources (Balcombe) Ltd drilled an unconventional, horizontal shale well at Lower Stumble. They are now represented by Angus Energy who are the current site operators.
As a village, we voted in February 2014 to keep all oil companies out of Balcombe.
In September 2018 Angus Energy carried out a 7 day well test and proved the presence of oil. During their test the well ceased to flow oil and started to flow almost 100% water so they stopped.
Angus’s planning application ran out March 2019 as a condition of the planning was that they had to complete their tests 6 months from start of testing. So they now need further planning permission to continue.
Angus have applied for permission to carry out an “Extended Well Test” for 3 years. They wish to:
- Pump out previously used drilling fluids
- Carry out an extended well test over 3 years using acid and nitrogen when necessary to release and lift the oil trapped in the shale rock.
Balcombe does not want them in the village again, and we must do everything legal in our power to stop them.
The first thing is to object to this planning application:
Anyone can object, but your objection has to be in your own words. You can be a resident of Balcombe or not. You can be an adult or a child. Everyone has the right to say why they don’t want oil drilling in Balcombe.
On a wider note, if Angus find commercial oil here, they won’t be content with just this one well. It is likely to mean many more wells, all over our countryside with new roads and pipelines. As one oil company CEO put it, we’ll have ‘back to back wells’ across the Weald. Angus have already talked of the next 2 wells here in Balcombe.
So, if you share our worries about the effect on our village and on Sussex, please make time to object to this application. Do not feel you can leave this to everyone else! Send in a written objection, by letter, email or online.
How to submit your objection:
Make sure you mention reference number WSCC/071/19. Include your name and address.
Online: On the West Sussex County Council Website – WSCC/071/19
Give your name, address and email, then your comment. Don’t forget to select ‘Objection’ in the final drop-down box before you submit your objection. Otherwise your objection will not count.
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org, including your postal address
In writing: County Planning, West Sussex County Council, Chichester, PO19 1RH
Objections must be in by Tuesday 12th November 2019.
Remember to spread the word among like-minded friends. Remember, children can object, too and write your comment in your own words. It can be as long or short as you want.
Examples of reasons to object to this planning application:
Air pollution – The prevailing wind blows from the site towards the village. It will bring toxic compounds from the flare, and emissions from diesel generators on site and HGVs.
Risk of water pollution – There may be leaks and spills, onto surrounding land and streams beside the site. These streams eventually end up in the river Ouse and then our drinking water.
Noise – The noise from the flare will run 24 hours 7 days a week when oil is being extracted.
Toxic waste disposal – The waste fluid from the well could be contaminated with heavy metals and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMS). It will be extremely salty, perhaps five times as salty as seawater. Some will inevitably be left underground. Some will be transported by tanker, through the village, for disposal elsewhere.
Traffic volume and accident risk – There will be more traffic, particularly HGVs, driving past our village school. An accident with an HGV carrying hazardous liquid, would have grave consequences. All of the well site traffic flows through our village.
Wildlife and environment – There will probably be disturbances to the birds and bats in the ancient woodland near the site. We should be fighting to protect our wildlife, and avoid the industrialisation of our countryside. This is a continuous 24 Hour, 7 day, industrial activity.
What if something goes wrong? – Angus Energy is a small limited company and could declare bankruptcy and walk away if a serious accident occurred.
Village life – Angus’s return would mean disruption and division in our community. Angus has no social licence to be in Balcombe – the village voted ‘no’ in the Parish Council poll in 2014, and doesn’t want Angus or Cuadrilla back. We have already endured over 7 years of oil industry blight.
Do not use the word ‘fracking’ (or hydraulic fracturing) in your objection. For now, Angus will be ‘acidising’, and anyway, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is not allowed to consider anything that happens underground (that is the domain of the Environment Agency). WSCC can consider all the issues listed above. If you mention ‘fracking’, your objection may not be counted.
Do not refer to the potential fall in house prices if Angus returns. Again, this cannot be taken into account in this planning objection. (But it is a worry…)
Remember, objections must be in by Tuesday 12th November!