Updated 13 September 2018
Angus Energy is now expected to begin a long-awaited flow test of the oil well at Balcombe in West Sussex in the last week of September. But this date depends on the company meeting conditions set by the Environment Agency.
Balcombe Parish Council said on 12 September that the flow test had been expected to start next week.
But this morning (13 September) it said it had received an update from the company. A post on the council’s website said:
“Angus Energy have now informed us that they are progressing with site preparation this week, (installing an impermeable bund), and look to progress the actual flow test in the last week of September subject to final sign off by the relevant regulators.”
Local people have reported activity at the site and security on the gates.
The parish council has said the planning conditions set by West Sussex County Council were discharged on Monday 10 September. At the same time, Angus Energy gave the county council seven days’ notice of the start of the flow test.
That start date has now slipped a week. Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association, the local group opposed to oil operations at the site, said:
“FFBRA understands from the Environment Agency that a number of the conditions of the Environmental permit are still outstanding and believe therefore that flow testing cannot start on site until these conditions are discharged.”
The Balcombe well at Lower Stumble was drilled by Cuadrilla in 2013, accompanied by daily protests. But the planning permission expired before the well could be tested.
Permission was extended in April 2014 and again in January 2018. Since then, Cuadrilla has transferred operation of the site to Angus Energy.
A community liaison group (clg) for the site – a condition of the planning permission – met for the first time on 5 September 2018. (link to minutes)
Village representatives for future clg meetings will be chosen at a special parish council meeting on 17 September 2018, at 8pm in the Parish Room, Stockcroft Rd, Balcombe RH17 6HP.
The next clg meeting is on 20 September 2018 at Bramble Hall, Balcombe, Haywards Heath, RH17 6HR. No time has been given for this meeting and it is not open to the public.