Balcombe anti-fracking group loses court battle

Anti-fracking campaigners in Balcombe have lost a High Court bid to block further exploration for oil and gas in their area. Energy company Cuadrilla was granted permission to undertake works […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Anti-fracking campaigners in Balcombe have lost a High Court bid to block further exploration for oil and gas in their area.

Energy company Cuadrilla was granted permission to undertake works at its site earlier this year by West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) Planning Committee despite massive objection.

The Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) argued the decision to grant planning permission was flawed by “errors of law” at a two-day hearing in London last month.

Cuadrilla previously said it would not carry out hydraulic fracturing at the site as the rock is naturally fractured.

WSCC said in a statement: “Our planning committee has to make decisions based on the merits of individual applications while adhering to national guidelines and policies.

“While we appreciate the concern that this application has caused, we want to reassure residents that no ‘fracking’ is proposed or approved through this permission. That would require a different application that would have to come before the committee for a decision.”

The FFBRA believes the ruling is a “lost opportunity”.

Sue Taylor, Vice Chair of FFBRA added: “Residents of Balcombe will be exposed to real health risks as will local water courses and public water supplies. We wanted to have the existing planning permission rescinded so that these issues could be fully investigated before any further work is done to the well.”