Campaigners dismayed by Cuadrilla’s Balcombe permission; committee chair says debate was robust

30th April 2014

Friends of the Earth described the approval of Cuadrilla’s application to test drill decision at Balcombe as “extremely disappointing”. The organisation’s south east campaigner, Brenda Pollack, said the planning committee of West Sussex County Council had not listened to the views of local people.

“This is an attempt by Cuadrilla to set the wheels in motion for dirty fossil fuel extraction”, she said. “The council and our Government should push forward with clean energy solutions. The UK is the windiest country in Europe yet the Conservatives have just announced they would put a stop to new onshore wind power if re-elected in 2015.”

“Allowing companies to drill underground for ever more difficult to extract oil and gas reserves is crazy when it won’t help keep bills or polluting emissions down. We have abundant clean sources of energy from the sun, wind and waves.”

The Green Party MEP for South East England, Keith Taylor, said residents had raised serious concerns about air and water pollution and demonstrated that the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive had failed to carry out their responsibilities. “I fear that today’s decision will open the door to the dangerous dinosaur fossil fuel industry across South East England.”

But the chair of the planning committee, Heidi Brunsdon, described the debate as robust. “Members gave all the issues a good airing and the further conditions we agreed might not go as far as some would have wanted, but we feel they were proportionate and fair in addressing the issues that members of the committee had surrounding this application.”

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