Balcombe campaigners welcome judicial review hearing on Cuadrilla planning decision

1st August 2014

A group of Balcombe residents have welcomed the go-ahead for their legal challenge into the decision to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla.

A judge at the High Court granted the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association the right to a judicial review hearing. FFBRA is objecting to the approval by West Sussex County Council of Cuadrilla’s planning application for flow testing and flaring in the village.

The organisation argues that the planning committee was wrong in law to insist that the number of representations against the application was “not a material consideration”. It also cites Cuadrila’s conduct during the operation of its previous activities in Balcombe, including allegations of non-compliance with planning conditions in the past.

Sue Taylor, Balcombe resident and campaigner, said: “This planning consent sets a dangerous precedent that the concerns of the local community can be ignored even though it is their health and safety that is at risk. Flaring from oil wells close to residential area poses an unacceptable threat to human health.”

Ugo Hayter, from the human rights team at law firm Leigh Day, which is representing FFBRA, said: “We’re very pleased that the High Court has agreed for this to go to a full judicial review hearing as we believe this planning permission has been granted unlawfully and flies in the face of overwhelming community opposition.

The judicial review hearing is expected to go ahead later this year at the High Court and will last for two days.

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