Anti-fracking protesters expected after Cuadrilla submits new application to drill in Balcombe

Anti-fracking protesters in Balcombe last August

Anti-fracking protesters in Balcombe last August

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Protesters could once again descend on a Sussex village after an energy firm confirmed it wanted to carry out more drilling.

Thousands of anti-fracking protesters flocked to Balcombe last summer as Cuadrilla began looking for shale gas.

The site was closed by September after their planning permission expired, but the firm has said it did not finish its operations.

It has now applied for a six-month temporary planning permission to carry out flow testing, which has been recommended for approval by council officers.

The firm said it would seal the well after the works.

‘Physical protest’ Vanessa Vine, from Frack Free Sussex, said should the application go ahead, direct action would likely follow.

She added: “I have no doubt there would be more protests.

“People are more aware of the issue than last summer.

“They will be angry. There is overwhelming public opposition and there will possibly be considerable physical protest.”

Kathryn McWhirter, from the No Fracking in Balcombe Society, added: “We have learnt not to trust what Cuadrilla say.

“They said they did not want to come back and now they are.

“They might not want to frack but someone else might.”

Fellow member Charles Metcalfe said: “I could see the protests happening again this summer.

“I think there will be more local residents turning out saying ‘we do not want this’.”

Nearly 900 letters of objection have been lodged from residents and local authorities.

The application said: “The purpose of the further appraisal work is to establish whether the well has sufficient hydrocarbons with sufficient flow to make production economically viable.

“If appraisal indicates production from the well would be viable and the applicant wants to undertake production at the site, this would be subject to a new planning permission.”

Cuadrilla has re-emphasised that it does not intend to use hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – at the site.

The application added: “The proposed flow testing operations do not include hydraulic fracturing and for the avoidance of doubt Cuadrilla can confirm that it will not be proposing to hydraulically fracture this well in the future.”

Opposition A ballot held by Balcombe Parish Council revealed 59.8% of voters wanted the council to oppose the application.

Ardingly Parish Council objected due to its close proximity to Ardingly reservoir and Worth Parish Council raised concerns over increased traffic generated in what it described as a “very rural area”.

Sussex Police, which spent nearly £4 million on policing the summer protests last year, made no comment on possible further protests.

But the force said it provided “crime prevention advice” including “benefits of secure perimeter fencing, lighting, and CCTV”.

Comments (11)

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11:47am Mon 21 Apr 14

andrewedmondson says...

I think we should be clear about the statistics of the recent village poll before such sweeping statements as "the overwhelming majority are against fracking."

60% of the 1500 village residents responded to the survey, implying that 40% couldn't be bothered.

50% of the respondents were opposed to any kind of drilling.

An additional 10% were opposed because of fracking.

So 10% of 60% of the village is opposed to fracking, i.e. 6% or 90 residents.

The 50% who are opposed to any drilling would presumable be opposed to any other kind of industrial work, perhaps even a wind farm.

The difference between oil and gas drilling and other industry is that oil and gas must be drilled where there is gas and oil, which means that any objections by the local population must carry less weight.

I live in one of the closes houses to the site and do not want any industrial activity. But then I don't want lots of other annoyances, e.g. bonfires, log fires, noise etc.

Above all, we have to be practical and have a measured response. The successful anti-nuclear campaign was run by fear and is the reason why we are having to frack now.

Both anti-fracking and anti-nuclear campaigns are supported by Friends of the Earth and other environmental organisations, which is a clear inconsistency. Nuclear energy is the safest form of energy per GW. There are far more dangerous activities going on throughout the UK, some of which kill and injure many more people, e.g. air pollution from diesel cars.

I am sure that green energy is the future but until that happy day we need energy. The IPCC is pro gas and the Russian crisis shows how vulnerable we are.

The problem with single issue campaigns like anti-nuclear and anti-fracking is just that: single-mindedness, no possibility of a U turn. This results in misinformation and stoking fear.

Instead of the anti-fracking campaign those who are concerned should have started a safe-fracking campaign, pressuring the environment agency to make sure our health is not at risk and that there is minimal impact on residents. That would receive 100% support instead of the 6% the anti-frackers have managed.
I think we should be clear about the statistics of the recent village poll before such sweeping statements as "the overwhelming majority are against fracking." 60% of the 1500 village residents responded to the survey, implying that 40% couldn't be bothered. 50% of the respondents were opposed to any kind of drilling. An additional 10% were opposed because of fracking. So 10% of 60% of the village is opposed to fracking, i.e. 6% or 90 residents. The 50% who are opposed to any drilling would presumable be opposed to any other kind of industrial work, perhaps even a wind farm. The difference between oil and gas drilling and other industry is that oil and gas must be drilled where there is gas and oil, which means that any objections by the local population must carry less weight. I live in one of the closes houses to the site and do not want any industrial activity. But then I don't want lots of other annoyances, e.g. bonfires, log fires, noise etc. Above all, we have to be practical and have a measured response. The successful anti-nuclear campaign was run by fear and is the reason why we are having to frack now. Both anti-fracking and anti-nuclear campaigns are supported by Friends of the Earth and other environmental organisations, which is a clear inconsistency. Nuclear energy is the safest form of energy per GW. There are far more dangerous activities going on throughout the UK, some of which kill and injure many more people, e.g. air pollution from diesel cars. I am sure that green energy is the future but until that happy day we need energy. The IPCC is pro gas and the Russian crisis shows how vulnerable we are. The problem with single issue campaigns like anti-nuclear and anti-fracking is just that: single-mindedness, no possibility of a U turn. This results in misinformation and stoking fear. Instead of the anti-fracking campaign those who are concerned should have started a safe-fracking campaign, pressuring the environment agency to make sure our health is not at risk and that there is minimal impact on residents. That would receive 100% support instead of the 6% the anti-frackers have managed. andrewedmondson
  • Score: 11

1:19pm Mon 21 Apr 14

vocallocal2 says...

Why is KM saying "they said they did not want to come back but now they are"? This is quite simply not true.

The original application included permission to flow test the well however Cuadrilla ran out of time to complete this operation last summer. (A very tight programme no doubt not helped by people sitting in front of the gate constantly for 2 months!) The company applied for a new permission to flow test BEFORE they left site at the expiry of their last permission in Sept, that application was ratified at Christmas after further detail was supplied to WSCC and its that application which is now before WSCC committee.

If she is spokeswoman for the NoFibs surely she should be better informed?
Why is KM saying "they said they did not want to come back but now they are"? This is quite simply not true. The original application included permission to flow test the well however Cuadrilla ran out of time to complete this operation last summer. (A very tight programme no doubt not helped by people sitting in front of the gate constantly for 2 months!) The company applied for a new permission to flow test BEFORE they left site at the expiry of their last permission in Sept, that application was ratified at Christmas after further detail was supplied to WSCC and its that application which is now before WSCC committee. If she is spokeswoman for the NoFibs surely she should be better informed? vocallocal2
  • Score: 2

3:12pm Mon 21 Apr 14

angrymonkey says...

the jobless unwashed will soon be moving back in making a mess and upsetting the area again like the 1st comment need to look at a the bigger picture not just move in as like a fight over things not know much about .
You think the greens could be using some of Brighton's money to fight things like this ? so no money to collect the bins.
the jobless unwashed will soon be moving back in making a mess and upsetting the area again like the 1st comment need to look at a the bigger picture not just move in as like a fight over things not know much about . You think the greens could be using some of Brighton's money to fight things like this ? so no money to collect the bins. angrymonkey
  • Score: 2

3:33pm Mon 21 Apr 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Cuadrilla should be made to pay the policing bill - it's ludicrous to allow them further drilling rights otherwise.

They should also be made to guarantee people's clean water supply and made to pay for clean water forever more if they fail.
Cuadrilla should be made to pay the policing bill - it's ludicrous to allow them further drilling rights otherwise. They should also be made to guarantee people's clean water supply and made to pay for clean water forever more if they fail. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Mon 21 Apr 14

vocallocal2 says...

How about Cuadrilla pay if they contaminate the water and the protestors pay if they don't ?

Might be a risky bargain if you are a protestor though as only thing the EA found an increased level of after last summer's drilling was ammonia…. wee!
How about Cuadrilla pay if they contaminate the water and the protestors pay if they don't ? Might be a risky bargain if you are a protestor though as only thing the EA found an increased level of after last summer's drilling was ammonia…. wee! vocallocal2
  • Score: 6

8:01pm Mon 21 Apr 14

angrymonkey says...

why should cuadrilla have to pay for cops to baby sit a load of wasters sitting about for weeks? maybe if they not trying to block roads starting trouble for locals trying to get about would not need lots of cops to police them .Be nice to see the unwashed go to work and pay tax that pays the cops to be there to keep them safe from them selves.
why should cuadrilla have to pay for cops to baby sit a load of wasters sitting about for weeks? maybe if they not trying to block roads starting trouble for locals trying to get about would not need lots of cops to police them .Be nice to see the unwashed go to work and pay tax that pays the cops to be there to keep them safe from them selves. angrymonkey
  • Score: 2

11:24pm Mon 21 Apr 14

whatevernext2013 says...

may be the edl should pop up and welcome them ,with bars of soap and some water ,and the dwp could pop up and see who is looking for work or just on a jolly at the expense of the tax payer
may be the edl should pop up and welcome them ,with bars of soap and some water ,and the dwp could pop up and see who is looking for work or just on a jolly at the expense of the tax payer whatevernext2013
  • Score: 2

5:18pm Tue 22 Apr 14

pachallis says...

I wonder how much of my taxes will be used to fund the unemployable protesters coming back for another party in the fields around Balcombe and pay for the police to allow Cuadrilla to perform the legally approved flow testing that the protesters caused to be delayed?

And I wonder how much of my rates will be used to fund various B&H green councilors supporting the anti-frackers and the subsidies provided to the Big Lemon Bus to ship protesters back and forth from Brighton & Hove at no charge?

Glad to see the anti-frackers are being admirably led by a nimby wine critic and (AFAIK) a teacher of new-age magic who advocates homeopathy (aka quack medicine) just like Caroline Lucas.

Heaven help them if they actually had some people involved that new anything about energy usage and oil exploration and/or had any realistic idea about how we actually deal with the global emission problems in a realistic pragmatic way?

Whatever you do anti-frackers - don't ask those idiot green councilors from Brighton & Hove along - they have actually managed to increase emission levels in the city over the past 4 years through the ideologically conceived and incompetently implemented policies.
I wonder how much of my taxes will be used to fund the unemployable protesters coming back for another party in the fields around Balcombe and pay for the police to allow Cuadrilla to perform the legally approved flow testing that the protesters caused to be delayed? And I wonder how much of my rates will be used to fund various B&H green councilors supporting the anti-frackers and the subsidies provided to the Big Lemon Bus to ship protesters back and forth from Brighton & Hove at no charge? Glad to see the anti-frackers are being admirably led by a nimby wine critic and (AFAIK) a teacher of new-age magic who advocates homeopathy (aka quack medicine) just like Caroline Lucas. Heaven help them if they actually had some people involved that new anything about energy usage and oil exploration and/or had any realistic idea about how we actually deal with the global emission problems in a realistic pragmatic way? Whatever you do anti-frackers - don't ask those idiot green councilors from Brighton & Hove along - they have actually managed to increase emission levels in the city over the past 4 years through the ideologically conceived and incompetently implemented policies. pachallis
  • Score: 1

11:56am Wed 23 Apr 14

HHresident says...

Terrible reporting by the Argus. You write . THIS IS WRONG. the application is to test the already drilled well and involves no more drilling. Please correct this grossly misleading error.
Also the two residents you quote are husband and wife , yet they use different surnames, to hide that they represent a very small but noisy group
Terrible reporting by the Argus. You write . THIS IS WRONG. the application is to test the already drilled well and involves no more drilling. Please correct this grossly misleading error. Also the two residents you quote are husband and wife , yet they use different surnames, to hide that they represent a very small but noisy group HHresident
  • Score: 4

11:57am Wed 23 Apr 14

HHresident says...

Above post should have read You write "after an energy firm confirmed it wanted to carry out more drilling"
Above post should have read You write "after an energy firm confirmed it wanted to carry out more drilling" HHresident
  • Score: 4

2:38pm Wed 23 Apr 14

HHresident says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
Cuadrilla should be made to pay the policing bill - it's ludicrous to allow them further drilling rights otherwise.

They should also be made to guarantee people's clean water supply and made to pay for clean water forever more if they fail.
They arent asking for rurther drilling rights
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: Cuadrilla should be made to pay the policing bill - it's ludicrous to allow them further drilling rights otherwise. They should also be made to guarantee people's clean water supply and made to pay for clean water forever more if they fail.[/p][/quote]They arent asking for rurther drilling rights HHresident
  • Score: 3

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