CONCERNS have been raised over plans to extract 3,000 barrels of oil from the countryside.

Petrochemical firm Angus Energy announced it hopes to conduct another test at its oil site in Balcombe, near Haywards Heath.

Managing director George Lucan said the company will soon submit plans to pump out wastewater and oil from the site to see if it was “commercially viable” to extract oil regularly.

But some residents expressed concern about the test, fearing more oil projects across the South Downs.

A spokeswoman for Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association said it was “committed” to preventing oil exploration in the village.

She said: “Last September’s flow test by Angus Energy was a fiasco as far as traffic was concerned.

“This use of the High Weald landscape is going to be for no profit - to the companies, the Government or the taxpayer.

“We don’t want to see the Weald industrialised for oil, as is already happening.”

Residents expressed concerns about a traffic “fiasco” during the last well test in October, when lorries performed u-turns on village roads because they missed the site gate.

They also feared emissions from trucks and the oil well affecting pupils of Balcombe School. But Angus Energy managing director Mr Lucan said measures were in place to protect residents from disruption.

“We’re going to have a linesman taking account of all traffic and making sure they get the right entry point,” he said.

“A lot of the time we had issues with drivers missing it and having to u-turn on the street. Because of council rules we have to take the shortest route possible, which means going through the village. That’s something we would rather not do.”

Mr Lucan reassured residents about pollution fears, claiming the methane burnt at the site is “no different to an ordinary boiler”.

He added: “We’re also hoping to lay down sound barriers to make sure the generators don’t make too much noise in the night, but we are next to a noisy train line. And for those who worry about earthquakes, a recent study by Imperial College London has shown this kind of activity does not cause earthquakes.”

Residents remained concerned about the project, however.

The residents association spokeswoman said: “We still have great concerns about the impact of these vehicles passing within metres of the school. These village roads are not designed for this industry.”

Balcombe became the focus of anti-fracking protests six years ago when the energy firm Cuadrilla was drilling for oil. In January 2018 Cuadrilla announced a new joint venture partnership with Angus Energy Plc. This includes the entire Balcombe Field discovery site. Cuadrilla has insisted ‘hydraulic fracturing’ is not required.