More reaction to refusal of Celtique Energie’s application for oil drilling between Wisborough Green and Kirdford

24th July 2014

Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green campaign group

We hope Celtique Energie will accept this decision together with all of the reasons why this site is totally unsuitable and take into account all the voices of the local people whose lives they wanted to irreversibly change. Midhurst and Petworth Observer

Marcus Adams, a leading campaigner to stop Celtique Energie drilling at Fernhurst

It is clear planning committee members recognised this was a completely inappropriate site. They chose not to defer a decision because they also acknowledged Celtique had had plenty of time to submit accurate traffic information, but until the very last minute, didn’t feel they needed to. We remain confident the South Downs National Park Authority will reach a similar conclusion when they consider the plan at Fernhurst.” Midhurst and Petworth Observer

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert

This is good news for local residents and the right decision. The site was totally inappropriate for drilling because of the heavy lorry movements involved through tranquil villages.

This is undoubtedly a setback for the industry, which should blame Celtique for its inaccurate figures about traffic, a poor choice of site and dismal community relations.

Celtique should now drop this application and think again about its plans to drill in the South Downs. And the Government should consider the damage that is being done to its attempt to boost fracking when the earliest bids to drill are in or near a landscape which is highly protected for good reason.

Greenpeace UK’s energy campaigner, Simon Clydesdale

This is fantastic news for everyone in the area. It will bring hope to communities resisting the industrialisation of the local countryside. In unanimously refusing the proposal, county councillors have set an example of rigor and independence for other local authorities to follow. West Sussex Gazette

Ian Hepburn, Head of Conservation, Sussex Wildlife Trust

Sussex Wildlife Trust is delighted at West Sussex County Council Planning Committee’s unanimous decision yesterday to reject the application by Celtique Energie for exploratory drilling at Boxall Bridge near Wisborough Green.

But we have been seriously disappointed by the poor standard of information on ecological impacts presented in support of the application. We maintain that there is a risk that protected bat species which are generally scarce in England and have a vitally important stronghold in the Wealden woodlands could be harmed by lighting effects. Celtique has failed to produce sufficient information and evidence to make a proper judgment on likely effects.

Quite frankly we are appalled that the applicant seems to have taken such a cavalier approach to its consideration of the wildlife in the vicinity of the proposed drilling site” says Ian Hepburn, Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation. “It does the industry no credit whatsoever that they have failed to provide relevant details of the intensity of lighting associated with the 45 metre high drilling rig, and claim that they cannot model how far the light will extend into adjacent woodland. The methods and timing of their survey work on bats has been inadequate.

This is a test case for Sussex Wildlife Trust. We will continue to object to drilling operations for shale gas and oil until companies demonstrate that they are willing and able to acquire and present adequate information to determine environmental impacts. On present evidence this promises to be a long battle.”

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