An anti-fracking group has lost a High Court battle to stop fuel drilling in their area.

Plans for exploratory drilling were initially refused by West Sussex County Council before the decision was over-ruled by a planning inspector.

Now, after legal action was brought by the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association, the decision to allow the drilling was upheld.

Lawyers for the association argued that the decision to allow the fracking had not considered the impact of climate change.

However, Mrs Justice Leven said in her ruling: “It makes no sense of the policy, in the context of hydrocarbon exploration, to say that there should be no permission if there are alternatives for production elsewhere.


“It is completely obvious that there will be alternative hydrocarbon production sites both in the UK, onshore and offshore, and in other countries.

“Such an exercise would be pointless at the exploration stage but is likely to be highly relevant if there is ever a production application.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities had defended the challenge, telling the court the inspector’s decision was lawful and was for the “exploration and appraisal” of resources.