CONTROVERSIAL plans by Celtique Energie for an exploratory well to drill for oil and gas near Wisborough Green were thrown out this morning (Tuesday, July 22) by West Sussex County Council’s planning committee.
The application was for temporary three year permission for oil and gas exploration.
Councillors refused it on the grounds that the applicant had not demonstrated the site represented the best option compared to other sites, had unsafe highways access and would have an adverse impact on Wisborough Green as a conservation area.
Speaking after the decision, Cllr Heidi Brunsdon, chairman of the planning committee, said: “There were simply too many highways issues and other issues of concern for any decision other than refusal in this instance.
“We have noted the objections of the local community and I felt that the debate today was a full and robust one.”
Nearly 100 people attended this morning’s meeting at County Hall North in Horsham to hear the debate and decision.
Commenting on news Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: “The shale industry’s clumsy attempt to impose fracking on Sussex has fallen at the first hurdle. Save for Celtique, this is fantastic news for everyone in the area and should bring hope to other communities resisting the industrialisation of their local countryside.
“Celtique’s bid was in trouble the moment they were caught underplaying the impact of extra heavy freight needed at the site. This is a serious concern for the local community, and the attempt to put a rosy spin on it hasn’t been forgiven.
“Local councillors deserve credit for standing up to the barrage of propaganda and pressure from the industry and government. They have set an example of rigor and independence for other local authorities to follow.”
The meeting was webcast live.