We HAVE Won!!!!

Published by FFBRA on

Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association congratulates West Sussex County Council Planning Committee for their recent decision to refuse Angus Energy’s application to extract drilling fluids and conduct an extended well test at Lower Stumble, Balcombe a UNANIMOUS VOTE.

The Planning Committee decided that Angus Energy’s application did not meet the necessary criteria of exceptional circumstances and being in the public interest to permit a major development in a protected place, in this case the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee resolved that planning permission be refused for the following reason:
The proposed development would represent major development in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, for which there are no exceptional circumstances, and which is not in the public interest. There are alternative sources of hydrocarbon suply, both indigenous and imported, to meet the national need, there would be minimal benefit to the local economy from the development, and there is scope for meeting the need in some other way, outside of nationally designated landscapes. It would therefore be
contrary to Policies M7a and M13 of the West Sussex Joint Local Minerals Plan (2018) and paragraphs 170 and 172 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2019).

This underlines the positive actions West Sussex County Council has taken to move towards cleaner, greener sources of energy, with the development of two solar arrays and a forthcoming battery storage unit.

You can watch a recording of the meeting here:

It is also the latest chapter in the 10 year saga of oil development applications in the West Sussex village of Balcombe, which saw major protests in 2013. Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd sold 25% of their interest in PEDL 244 to Angus Energy in 2018, and Angus took over as operator of PEDL 244.

On behalf of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association, Sue Taylor says: ‘This verdict is such a relief. Thanks to all the hard work of so many people, the situation is looking positive for Balcombe.’

Balcombe resident Jon Millbanks hopes this is the end of the story of oil exploration in Balcombe. ‘We shall be heartily glad to see the back of oil companies in the village,’ he said. ‘They have blighted village life for ten years, and threatened us with increased HGV traffic, noise and fumes from drilling and flaring. Now the children at our excellent local primary school will not have to put up with idling HGVs spewing out noxious fumes, metres from their classrooms and playground, as they wait to go down to the well-site.”

Malcolm Kenward, another resident and a staunch supporter of REPOWERBalcombe, the local renewable electricity generating co-operative, is also glad to see this application opposed. ‘We’re far
better off generating electricity from solar panels than looking for more fossil fuels,’ Kenward said. ‘The world needs to change the way it thinks about how we generate energy. We have to look forward, not backwards, otherwise our children and grandchildren will face a hugely depleted

For further comments and quotes, please contact Sue Taylor, 01444 819329