11th June 2014
This evening, almost 900 people had signed an online petition calling on West Sussex County Council to declare the county a frack-free zone. If another 2,100 people sign by mid July, the council is committed to holding a debate on the issue.
The petition, open only to people with an address in West Sussex, gives the following reasons for its call for frack-free status:
- The technology for unconventional oil and gas exploitation is untested in the UK
- The Sussex weald is rural and tranquil, with narrow lanes and tracks
- The underlying geology is multi-faulted and unsuitable for hydraulic fracturing
- The area is water stressed and cannot afford the huge amounts of water required for fracking. There is no mechanism for disposal of contaminated and radioactive waste water.
- The outstanding and highly designated landscape and its associated wildlife would be threatened. Internationally protected bats would be disturbed.
- The dark night skies for which the areas is famed would be threatened.
- Exploiting oil and gas resources goes against the global imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The petition is part of the County Council’s new scheme, agreed in February this year. Under the scheme, petitions that contain at least 3,000 signatures will be debated at the next full meeting of the council.
The council said it “wishes to enable all people resident, working or studying in the county to petition the Council and to obtain a response that meets the expectations of the petition or provides a reasoned explanation for why those expectations cannot be met.”
The deadline for the petition is July 20th 2014. To view the petition click here
The council’s planning committee decides planning applications for oil and gas drilling in the county. At the end of April, it granted permission for Cuadrilla to test its oil exploration well at Balcombe. On 22nd July, the committee is due to consider an application by Celtique Energie to drill an exploratory well between Kirdford and Wisborough Green.
- West Sussex County Council has extended the deadline for consultation responses to Celtique Energie’s application. Comments must now be submitted by Friday 20th June.