THE South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) could be poised to turn down an application to drill for oil and gas – the first of its kind in the country.
In a report published today (September 3), members of the SDNPA planning committee are being recommended to refuse planning permission for exploratory drilling and appraisal for oil/gas at Fernhurst.
This is the first application in a national park.
The report, by SDNPA officers, having taken leading counsel advice, advises that the applicant, Celtique Energie, has failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances exist for such exploration and appraisal to take place within the protected landscape and that it is in the public interest to do so.
The SDNPA planning committee will meet to make a decision on the application at 10am on September 11.
For those who are unable to attend on the day, the SDNPA will be webcasting the meeting live.
Trevor Beattie, chief executive for the SDNPA, said: “Any proposal for major development in a national park must demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist for the development to go ahead and that it is in the public interest for the development to occur.
“Key assessments are whether there is a proven need for this development in this location or whether oil/ gas exploration could take place elsewhere. The report speaks for itself.
“It will now be up to the members to consider the report, evidence, the relevant policies and material considerations and make a decision on this important application.”
A full copy of the report is available at www.southdowns.gov.uk