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Two views from Balcombe on a summer with Cuadrilla

In an open letter to West Sussex County Council, 17 Balcombe residents call for further protest against fracking after their “pretty miserable summer” caused by Cuadrila’s exploration for oil.

The letter says opponents of the operation fought to be heard by local and national government and the regulators. The majority of the village, they say, supported the protest camp outside Cuadrilla’s site entrance because there was nothing else they could do. 

 “There has been nothing democratic about this whole process”  

The letter accuses West Sussex County Council of doing nothing to help the opponents of the exploration and everything to facilitate Cuadrilla. It criticises the council for not enforcing breaches of planning permission by the company, for delays in releasing a report on excessive noise and for not responding to residents’ correspondence. The letter also questions the effectiveness of the Environment Agency. The letter ends by urging residents to “protest against the government, this billion dollar industry and their massive PR machine white washing this filthy industry invading our country.”

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The head forester of the Balcombe Estate, owner of the land drilled by Cuadrilla, bids farewell to the protest camp that set up along grass verges outside the site entrance.

In a letter to the Mid Sussex Times, Jamie Kirkman, says while he applauds the right to protest he is pleased to see the end of the camp. He says he wishes the protestors had spared a thought for the environment where they camped.

He says: “The width of the verge, the ground flora and the proximity of the shrub zone to woodland make this a valuable habitat for a diversity of invertebrates, small mammals and birds alike,” The presence of “the hundred plus tents, people and drums”, he says, might explain why there was no wildlife to be seen. He also wishes the protestors had not fueled their stoves with dead timber, which is left  to enrich the woodland environment.

“I genuinely wish them a safe and speedy onward journey”

He says: “We will remain and continue to manage the local countryside, maintaining our area of outstanding natural beauty at grass roots level.”

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