28th August 2014
The largest number of signatories for an e-petition calling for West Sussex to become a frack-free zone came from parts of the county where there are plans for exploratory oil drilling or a new well was drilled recently.
2,094 people with a West Sussex postcode signed the petition on the West Sussex County Council website before the deadline of Monday 25th August. The website grouped signatories by their postcode into the county’s electoral divisions and these have analysed to indicate where opposition to fracking may be strongest.
The highest number of signatures (273 or 13% of the total) in an electoral division were for Petworth, which includes Wisborough Green and Kirdford. Last month, Celtique Energie was refused planning permission to drill at a site between the two villages. It has until October to appeal against the decision.
The next largest number of signatories (154 or 7% of the total) was for Worth Forest division, which includes Balcombe, where Cuadrilla drilled an exploratory oil well last summer. The company received planning permission in April to test the well and flare off gases.
The third highest electoral division, with 119 signatures (6% of the total), was Fernhurst, which includes the site of another of Celtique Energie’s proposed exploratory wells. This application will be decided by the South Downs National Park on Thursday September 11.
The electoral divisions with the highest number of signatures also included:
- Lindfield and High Weald and East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood – both near Balcombe
- Pulborough – near Kirdford/Wisborough Green
- Midhurst – near Fernhurst
Storrington, which has an established drilling site, was also in the top 10 electoral divisions for signatures but the electoral division including Singleton (another established oil field) had only 21 signature (1%) of the total.
The electoral divisions with the lowest number of signatures were in Crawley and along the coast between Selsey and Felpham.