ENERGY company Celtique has hit back at campaigners after they launched a demonstration in Fernhurst.
Campaigners fighting fracking plans hired a 32-ton lorry to travel the route along the narrow lanes to the proposed site.
Celtique have commented upon the issue and argue that traffic disturbances would be minimal.
A spokesman for the company said: “Celtique’s proposals will generate up to approximately 35 additional two-way vehicle movements a day for 24 weeks out of the 26-week exploration programme, with temporary increases for the short periods when the drilling rig is mobilised on to the site and later when it is dismantled.
“This would represent less than a one per cent increase on existing traffic movements.
“All site traffic will be required to keep to the advisory lorry route network established by West Sussex County Council, using the larger A roads for as long as practically possible prior to accessing the site.
“As we have consistently stated, the traffic increase will be temporary, peaking during the phases of construction and rig mobilisation and reducing once drilling commences.
“The traffic plan will be detailed in the planning application and agreed with the planning authority.”
Fernhurst’s district councillors Norma Graves and Heather Caird have released a statement regarding the contentious issue. Their report states: “The topic of most concern to Fernhurst residents at present must be the proposal for exploratory drilling by Celtique Energie at Nine Acre Copse to the west of Fernhurst village, which will need planning permission.
“If successful, and they then wish to proceed, Celtique would have to submit a further planning application which must also satisfy a number of regulatory bodies.
“These will include the Department of Energy, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and, of course, the South Downs National Park, that it was safe to do so. There are no planning applications in place at the moment, but a request for scoping documents is in process with the Park.
“Chichester District Council will not be the decision maker, so arguments and questions should be directed towards the South Downs National Park Authority, the local planning authority for this development.”