Campaigners against drilling for oil at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex are gathering outside council offices this morning as a committee prepares to decide on the future of the site.
Local community groups say their views have not been properly taken into account by planners who are recommending that permission at the oil site should be extended for another 12 months.
If the application is approved it would allow the site operator, Kimmeridge Oil and Gas, to complete tests on the flow and quantity of oil in a well drilled earlier this summer.
The meeting, which begins at 10.30am in Horsham, is expected to hear statements from actor, Sue Jameson, for Broadford Bridge Action Group, Dr Roger Smith, of CPRE Sussex and Jim Kelsey, of the campaign group, Keep Billingshurst Frack Free.
They have raised concerns about the impact of oil exploration on local water, air and roads.
They have opposed the proposal by KOGL to use a 15% solution of hydrochloric acid to stimulate the flow of oil in the Kimmeridge limestone rocks. KOGL has said this is a routine operation but opponents fear this could contaminate local water supplies. Opponents have also raised fears that flaring gas from the well could affect air quality. Local people had funded monitoring of air and water to establish a baseline.
The original application, submitted by a previous operator, had sought to explore for hydrocarbons in a deeper sandstone rock. Some opponents said there were enough differences between plans by KOGL and the previous operator to justify a new and full application.
The meeting is expected to hear a statement in support of the application from Stephen Sanderson, the Executive Chairman of KOGL’s parent company, UK Oil and Gas. Others speakers in support are expected to be Matt Cartwright, of KOGL, and Nigel Moore, of the Zetland Group, KOGL’s agent.