New bid to drill for fossil fuels in South Downs National Park

An energy firm has submitted a new application to drill for fossil fuels in a national park.

Celtique Energie wants to explore for oil and gas in Fernhurst – and said it could apply to frack if it finds shale gas.

The controversial process which injects pressurised fluid into the ground to crack rocks and release gas attracted hundreds of protesters when test drilling took place in Balcombe this year.

Celtique already has a similar application pending for test drilling at Wisborourgh Green, near Billingshurst.

A third application to drill was permitted at Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst – though this does not include shale exploration.

The latest application was submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority.

Celtique said the temporary well would have “modest impact” on the environment.

Chief executive Geoff Davies said: “We are aware that there is significant interest locally over the role of hydraulic fracturing at our proposed well site.

“As we have consistently stated, Celtique is not applying for hydraulic fracturing as part of this planning application.

“However, as part of our planning application we will be drilling through shale formations encountered in the well to confirm what potential these rocks have for commercial production.

“Should this data prove positive, we may wish to explore these formations further, which could include the use of hydraulic fracturing on this same site.”

A vocal campaign is opposing the plan including Lord Cowdray, owner of the Cowdray Park Polo Club and estate.

He said: “I do not support fracking at all, and I especially oppose it in a National Park, with the potential for ground water and aquifer pollution from the toxic mixture of chemicals they’ll be using.

“It’s hardly what people expect when they come to an area of outstanding natural beauty – flares, trucks and 40m tall gas rigs.”

Lord Cowdray is backing a Greenpeace legal bid to stop horizontal drilling under people’s land without their permission.

Meanwhile anti-fracking campaigners have accused Celtique of touting the area to investors.

A classified document quotes the company as offering potential investors the “potential for cost optimisation via an extensive drilling campaign assisted by dedicated drilling and fracking” as far back as 2011 in the Weald Basin.

Comments (5)

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10:35am Wed 11 Dec 13

Twilekswg says...

OMG I fill sick! Any activity of this type in a National Park is ridiculous.
OMG I fill sick! Any activity of this type in a National Park is ridiculous. Twilekswg

11:34am Wed 11 Dec 13

Crystal Ball says...

Paging glory-hound Lucas!
Paging glory-hound Lucas! Crystal Ball

1:40pm Wed 11 Dec 13

paul76 says...

Twilekswg wrote:
OMG I fill sick! Any activity of this type in a National Park is ridiculous.
You feel sick? Actually physically sick? Get over yourself.

Loving the idea. Two sites operating at the same time and the great unwashed will have to share themselves between the two sites, meaning less of them at each one. Perfect. Much easier to manage and control them.
[quote][p][bold]Twilekswg[/bold] wrote: OMG I fill sick! Any activity of this type in a National Park is ridiculous.[/p][/quote]You feel sick? Actually physically sick? Get over yourself. Loving the idea. Two sites operating at the same time and the great unwashed will have to share themselves between the two sites, meaning less of them at each one. Perfect. Much easier to manage and control them. paul76

10:08am Thu 12 Dec 13

michaelr says...

Since the Nimby crowd stopped all the wind farms they get what they deserve.

The choice is clean wind power, solar, cleanish nuclear, fracking gas or dirty coal.

Since they don't want big coal power stations then the only option is GAS otherwise their poor iGadgets will stop working.

This is what happened in Shoreham. They blocked the turbines so got a gas power station instead. Will they never learn
Since the Nimby crowd stopped all the wind farms they get what they deserve. The choice is clean wind power, solar, cleanish nuclear, fracking gas or dirty coal. Since they don't want big coal power stations then the only option is GAS otherwise their poor iGadgets will stop working. This is what happened in Shoreham. They blocked the turbines so got a gas power station instead. Will they never learn michaelr

2:07am Fri 13 Dec 13

Peter Donovan says...

A few things to comment on. The people at Fernhurst and Wisborough Green have already drawn up their plans to protect the beautiful areas that they live in....without the help of the 'great unwashed', as you put it.
The Protectors at Balcombe were made up of local people, working people on days off or having taken leave from their jobs (myself included), professionals from the industry, plus concerned citizens from around the country.
The two sites, if they were to be working at the same time, would be well manned with Protectors, and it would be the Corporate security guards (the Police) who would be stretched.
This is not a nimby issue. People from the south have joined the people from the north at Barton Moss, Manchester, to protect the land up there, the same way that the north supported the south at Balcombe.
The issue is not just about the chance of contaminating the aquifers, but about the waste of fresh, irreplacable water, the injection of carcinogenics into the ground, the strong chance of subsidence which could damage the well casing, releasing the chemicals, the hundreds of lorry movements through very narrow lanes and through villages, and the damage to the ecology.
Wells leak, some immediately, almost all within twenty years. Methane is released into the atmosphere through leakage.
Only four wells have been fracked in the UK, causing two quakes, which did cause damage above ground, and also caused damage to the well casing, which Cuadrilla did not report to the government for 6 months. The cost of any damage to the environment will be picked up by the taxpayer, not the frackers, absolving them of ANY responsibility.
Please do your own research into fracking....don't just take what the government and oil industry tell you. There are so many in parliament and working with the government with lots to gain from this, and they will tell you it is safe, when it is not.
You cannot regulate what goes on underground, and once there is damage, it cannot be put right.
It is not a safe practise, will not reduce fuel bills, but will make share holders very rich.
A few things to comment on. The people at Fernhurst and Wisborough Green have already drawn up their plans to protect the beautiful areas that they live in....without the help of the 'great unwashed', as you put it. The Protectors at Balcombe were made up of local people, working people on days off or having taken leave from their jobs (myself included), professionals from the industry, plus concerned citizens from around the country. The two sites, if they were to be working at the same time, would be well manned with Protectors, and it would be the Corporate security guards (the Police) who would be stretched. This is not a nimby issue. People from the south have joined the people from the north at Barton Moss, Manchester, to protect the land up there, the same way that the north supported the south at Balcombe. The issue is not just about the chance of contaminating the aquifers, but about the waste of fresh, irreplacable water, the injection of carcinogenics into the ground, the strong chance of subsidence which could damage the well casing, releasing the chemicals, the hundreds of lorry movements through very narrow lanes and through villages, and the damage to the ecology. Wells leak, some immediately, almost all within twenty years. Methane is released into the atmosphere through leakage. Only four wells have been fracked in the UK, causing two quakes, which did cause damage above ground, and also caused damage to the well casing, which Cuadrilla did not report to the government for 6 months. The cost of any damage to the environment will be picked up by the taxpayer, not the frackers, absolving them of ANY responsibility. Please do your own research into fracking....don't just take what the government and oil industry tell you. There are so many in parliament and working with the government with lots to gain from this, and they will tell you it is safe, when it is not. You cannot regulate what goes on underground, and once there is damage, it cannot be put right. It is not a safe practise, will not reduce fuel bills, but will make share holders very rich. Peter Donovan

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