A FRACKING firm has scaled back its plans after a campaign from neighbouring residents.

Celtique Energie, which applied to South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) for planning permission to test drill for shale oil or gas, has written to residents informing them it has amended its application.

The firm will be removing a horizontal well which would have passed beneath the property of five landowners near the site close to Fernhurst.

Now Celtique Energie |will only focus on a vertical well which will decrease the time it expects to be on the |site from 14 months to six months.

Marcus Adams, one of the landowners who campaigned against the site, said: “It is encouraging to see Celtique have scaled back their drilling plans at least for now, but we won’t give up the fight until they’ve officially abandoned their ambition to frack in the heart of this beautiful national park.

“The heavy lorry traffic, noise and air pollution caused by fracking will leave a massive scar on this area of outstanding natural beauty – and all of this to line the pockets of a company mostly owned by US financiers.

Application date “It just doesn’t make |sense.”

Geoff Davies, chief executive officer at Celtique Energie, said: “Following this latest submission, we firmly believe that the SDNPA has all the information it requires within its remit to determine the application on the agreed date of July 10, 2014.

“We have made every effort to ensure that our application for this temporary activity is as comprehensive and robust as practically possible, and we hope that the authority’s planning committee reaches a similar view when it goes before them.”

Simon Clydesdale, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner, said: “It is clear that strong local opposition has forced Celtique to take a step back, at least for now.

“If anyone was in any doubt as to why ministers are so desperate to strip homeowners and landowners of their property rights, look no further than Fernhurst.”