The operator of the controversial Balcombe oil site in West Sussex has said it intends to appeal against the rejection of its well test.
In March this year, the county council’s planning committee unanimously refused Angus Energy planning application for a one-year test, against the advice of officials.
In a statement today, Angus Energy said:
“The Company has had further discussions with West Sussex County Council [WSCC] and has indicated its intention to appeal the WSCC Planning Committee’s decision to reject our application for a short well test against the Officers’ recommendation to approve.
“Angus will be making its appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and is presently preparing its statement of case.”
Many Balcombe residents have opposed oil operations in the village.
The site saw mass daily protests and arrests when Cuadrilla drilled an exploration well in the summer of 2013.
After this year’s refusal, Sue Taylor, a spokesperson for Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association, said:
“This verdict is such a relief. Thanks to all the hard work of so many people is looking positive for Balcombe.”
The Balcombe site is in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Under planning law, this means that major applications, like the Balcombe well test, must show there are exceptional circumstances and in the public interest to be approved.
In 2020, planning officers recommended refusal of a three-year test.
This year, county councillors argued that nothing had changed since then and there were still no exceptional circumstances to approve the plans. One councillor said the planning officer had “misdirected himself”.