Wisborough Green: Drilling Application Rejected
An application by Celtique Energy for oil and gas exploration near Wisborough Green has been refused by WSCC's Planning Committee.
The application was for temporary three year permission for oil and gas exploration. Councillors refused it on the grounds that the applicant had not demonstrated the site represented the best option compared to other sites, has unsafe highways access and would have an adverse impact on Wisborough Green as a conservation area.
Speaking after the decision, Councillor Heidi Brunsdon, Chairman of West Sussex County Council's Planning Committee, said: "There were simply too many highways issues and other issues of concern for any decision other than refusal in this instance.
"We have noted the objections of the local community and I felt that the debate today was a full and robust one."
Nearly 100 people attended this morning's meeting at County Hall North in Horsham to hear the debate and decision.
Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said:
"The shale industry's clumsy attempt to impose fracking on Sussex has fallen at the first hurdle. Save for Celtique, this is fantastic news for everyone in the area and should bring hope to other communities resisting the industrialisation of their local countryside.
"Celtique's bid was in trouble the moment they were caught underplaying the impact of extra heavy freight needed at the site. This is a serious concern for the local community, and the attempt to put a rosy spin on it hasn't been forgiven.
"Local councillors deserve credit for standing up to the barrage of propaganda and pressure from the industry and government. They have set an example of rigour and independence for other local authorities to follow."
Brenda Pollack, South East Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:
"This was absolutely the right decision. Nobody wants to see Sussex ruined by industrial drilling for dirty fossil fuels. If Celtique had been allowed to test for oil or gas, then there's every chance that fracking would have followed.
"Local people would have seen their peaceful neighbourhoods shattered by the drilling and the extra lorries and other industrial traffic that comes with it. It has been clear from the start that this application must be refused for a range of reasons.
"Sussex could and should be at the heart of Britain's growing clean, green energy and economic transformation with a drive to waste less energy and source it from the wind, sun and waves."
A future based on and renewable technology and cutting waste could provide many jobs: renewable energy could support 400,000 jobs across the UK by 2020 and an energy efficiency programme could create 71,000 new jobs by 2015.