Update on Sussex drilling planning applications

3rd March 2014

1. Balcombe: end of public consultation approaches
WSCC/005/14/BA application by Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd

There are 10 days left for people to respond to Cuadrilla’s application to flow test and monitor its oil exploration well at Lower Stumble. (The consultation period ends on 13th March 2014).

At the time of posting, there were just over 200 public responses logged on the West Sussex County Council website objecting to the application, four responses in support and two that expressed concern.

Balcombe Parish Council is holding an extraordinary meeting at Bramble Hall at 11am on Saturday 8th March. This will discuss the recommended response of the council’s Oil Exploration Working Group, which met last week. Also on the agenda is the ratification of amended terms of reference for the working group.

The application was registered on 22nd January 2014 and the determination date set by West Sussex County Council is 23rd April.

2. Fernhurst: on hold
SDNP/13/05896/CM  application by Celtique Energie

The South Downs National Park Authority has halted consideration of this application for exploratory drilling because key information is missing. The Authority is to make a formal request early this month for the required information, which will be made public. Once the details have been provided, a new public consultation is likely.

The application was validated on 11th December last year and a neighbour consultation period ended on in January. The decision date had originally been set for 19th March but is now not likely to be until the summer. More than 2,400 responses were logged on the Authority’s website, almost all of them objections.

3. Wisborough Green and Kirdford: decision date delayed
WSCC/083/13/KD application by Celtique Energie

A decision on Celtique Energie’s planning application for oil and gas exploration at Wisborough Green/Kirdford has been delayed again because West Sussex County Council requires more information from the company.

The application, submitted on September 6th last year, had originally been scheduled for a decision by the end of December. The council extended the period for comments and set a decision date for March 6th. Celtique Energie said it would supply the required information by last week and proposed a new decision date of April 30th.

The information required is set out in a letter from the council to Celtique Energie. It is divided into essential and recommended detail and covers a range of issues, including the impact of drilling on biodiversity, noise, vibration and air quality.

Essential information
Amended plans Extra details to plans including accurate spot heights and locations.
Heritage Desk-based archaeological assessment and geophysical surveying.
Landscape Clarification on tree work and felling and the removal of a section of hedgerow.
Highways Contingency in case Boxal Bridge floods.
Lighting Details of proposed lighting for all phases of the operation and assessment of potential light spill from lighting and flaring.
Ecology Consideration of effect of lighting and noise on bats and neighbouring woodland ecology. Submission of bat survey data and responses to questions about the bat survey methodology. Clarification on location of badger sets.
Livestock Potential impact on nearby livestock and horses.
Vibration Clarification of impacts on vibration.
Noise Further detail on impact of wind, screening and topography on noise levels. Potential for low frequency and tonal noise. Potential impact of noise on neighbouring land. Revised noise report.
Air quality Clarification of how air quality survey has taken account of all sources of potential emissions.
Phasing Clarification of which operations happen when and when the rig is required.
Site selection Clarification on how primary and secondary search areas were defined.

Recommended information
Celtique Energie was advised to demonstrate that opportunities for enhancing biodiversity were considered. Clarification was sought on the proposed increased height of security fencing and about ownership of the land.

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