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Legal challenge to planning permission for Cuadrilla’s Balcombe oil well comes a step closer

30th May 2014

West Sussex County Council has responded to a challenge by a group of Balcombe residents that the planning permission for Cuadrilla’s exploratory oil well was unlawful.

The Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) argued in a letter sent earlier this month that the council’s planning committee had been misdirected and given faulty advice on facts and the law.

The group gave the council 14 days to withdraw the permission or face a judicial review. The council is understood to have defended its decision and FFBRA’s lawyers are now examining the council’s response. We asked the council for details of the response but it has not yet replied. We’ll let you know when it does.

Cuadrilla was granted permission on April 29th to test the flow of the well and install security fencing and an enclosed flare. If the council does not withdraw the application, FFBRA has until June 13th to apply for permission to bring the challenge.

  • Earlier this week, FFBRA announced that the renewable energy company, Ecotricity, had agreed to cover FFBRA’s cost exposure if it loses the judicial review and has to pay the council’s costs (which will be limited to £10,000). If FFBRA wins, it will return the money to Ecotricity.

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