Balcombe judicial review decision – residents’ reaction

Sue Taylor, Vice Chair of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association said: “We are obviously disappointed. We, along with lawyers Leigh Day, believe the judge did not address our key arguments.

Nevertheless, bringing our case to the High Court was a victory in itself, and has raised important issues. Councillors in West Sussex (and throughout the two-thirds of the UK at risk from exploration for unconventional oil and gas) will in future be forced to take applications from oil and gas companies more seriously. We believe this will make for more informed planning decisions in the future.

Judicial Review revolves around criticism of procedure, in our case the way the council considered Cuadrilla’s application, the importance attributed to certain issues, and our belief that councillors on the planning committee were misadvised by the Planning Officer and lawyers for the council. It did not and could not address the rights and wrongs of exploration for oil in our village.

Residents of Balcombe will be exposed to real health risks, as will local water courses and public water supplies. We wanted to have the existing planning permission rescinded so that these issues could be fully investigated before any further work is done to the well. Judge Gilbert’s refusal to address our genuine concerns is a lost opportunity.

Categories: Opposition

14 replies »

    • How appropriate Rodney that you should quote Shylock from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice when you yourself have tried to rip the heart out of Balcombe in order to further the cause of Cuadrilla.

      • Sue, Rodney has as much right to an opinion on the matter as any of us and I think your accusation that he has ‘tried to rip the heart out of Balcombe’ is disingenuous in the extreme.

      • …”and if you tickle us do we not laugh?”.Congratulations on going to law. Much more civilized than your group’s previous antics.I trust FFBRA will accept the verdict just as some of us had to accept seemingly wrongheaded verdicts last year!.

    • One of Balcombe’s nursery school is directly in line of any toxic gases coming from the flare which you support. The top of the flare is below the level of the village and the prevailing wind will blow any toxic gases towards that part of the village where many people live. Cuadrilla is a company owned and funded by American, Australian and Chinese investors who will reap the profits while the residents of Balcombe take all the risks.
      The moral of “The Merchant of Venice” was not to put money before morality. A fresh reading of the play might help you rethink your relationship with Cuadrilla.

      • Indeed! and as in the Judicial Review a sensible judgement was given in the end.
        Please note I have no relationship with Caudrilla, never had so much as a beer or a penny from them. Do you REALLY know where FFBRA’s outside funding ultimately comes from? Neither do I but I suggest suspicion is not unreasonable.
        Anyway with the fall in the oil price it is unlikely anything will happen. If so all the riduclous sound & fury costing millions in Public Funds was all for nothing.

      • This is a short sighted argument. Our British company also own land and oil/gas license in Australia US China Middle East and make profit from their business. Does it make them immoral? All companies have to follow the rules of the laws set by those countries. That’s how the open democratic modern society work. Everyone can invest and profit or lose their money from these companies as they wish. Green tech company also own and run by these same countries you mentioned to profit their investment.

  1. “Residents of Balcombe will be exposed to real health risks, as will local water courses and public water supplies” – is the view of the FFBRA. Judge Gilbert correctly ruled that the competent authorities, the EA and the HSE, were the appropriate authorities that had reviewed those risks and given permission for Cuadrilla to proceed. The local Council was correct to adopt the recommendations of the EA and HSE. It is not the job of the local council to duplicate the statutory duties of the EA and HSE. Perhaps FFBRA should have taken the EA or HSE to court if they have substantive evidence that these statutory bodies did not undertaken their scrutiny competantly? It seems that the case presented to the Judge by FFBRA was ill advised. By the way how many residents out of the total population of voting age in Balcombe’s electoral wards are members of FFBRA? Perhaps the title of this report should be “some of Balcombe’s residents’ reaction (represented by FFBRA)”

  2. If the society is determined by the whim of these small groups of nimbys and their non practical non scientific opinion then we might as well shut down our university our EA DECC Royal Society our planning process etc etc. And say good bye to reason and progress.

    • Do you also dispute the report from Breast Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Action about the dangers of fracking.

      Perhaps you would like to discuss your evidence with their independent, scientific medical experts.

  3. Excellent point Nick relating to the residents of Balcombe being the membership of FFBRA. I would suggest those community residents who are not members of this FFBRA may feel slightly peeved that they are seen to be involved with this ordinary, ill-informed and ill-advised group of people.

    • Balcombe FFBRA have about 300 members from a Village Population of 1800…FFBRA said 90% of Village were against Fracking! Yet another Blantant Lie…But that is all they can say to back thier cause! LIES!

      • While on disinformation did anyone hear Caroline Lucas on “Any Questions” last Friday? In the course of her rant against drilling she quoted the disruption it caused in Balcombe. I attempted to get onto “Any Answers” to point out that disruption was caused ONLY by the protestors she joined & encouraged. Unfortunately I missed the BBC’s call back. Yet another lie goes unchallenged

  4. Sue Taylor has deffo lost the plot! As Balcombe Parish Council were told by Cuadrilla in May 2013 (BPC Web) they would not be Fracking! Yet the local Antis failed to see or are they UNABLE TO READ ! Sue Taylor and her band of followers have DIVIDED/SPOILT/RUINED Our once LOVELY VILLAGE! The Antis do nothing but tell lies about fracking! Having been born and bred in the village i can honestly say i have lost the desire to live amongest a bunch of liars! Two familys who lived in Balcombe have moved because of the like’s of Sue Taylor and her ‘Mates’,one to Lindfield,another to Dorset.When Conoco drilled for oil (The same as Cuadrilla,a conventional well) there was no protests! The Village let them carry on without disruption! I now see the Anti Fracking brigade are trying to run BPC with ONE AGENDA! Do they not realise the hard work needed on many various subjests they have to attend to?. Of course not! I for one hope Sue Taylor and her cronies are not elected but as a few are in the same ‘Camp’ as her much regret what might happen!.Don’t forget Sue someone needs to be on Dog Mess cleaning duty,especially on the Recreation Ground! You live close by so i presume you will take up the mantle,

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