PRESSURE from an anti-fracking protest group which set up camp at County Hall has prompted leader of West Sussex County Council Louise Goldsmith to call for a national debate.
And it has been praised by actress Sue Jameson, a member of the Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green anti-fracking campaign group.
Mrs Jameson, who stars in BBC1’s New Tricks, said: “It was an orderly, peaceful group and as a result of their presence and negotiations the meeting facilitated people from all areas, including Fernhurst, Kirdford and Wisborough Green, who were representing people’s views from the heartland of Sussex.
“It was a positive meeting with proper dialogue which gave the opportunity to get across the strong feelings local people have.
“As a result a second meeting has been organised for December 18 and we are hoping this will help lead to a national debate.”
More than 20 protesters from the Frack Free Sussex group staged a four-day protest on the lawn outside the county council headquarters.
A man going by the name of ‘Peaceful’ Dan was among the protestors, aged 15-47, who met at Balcombe.
Dan said: “We feel WSCC failed its constituents.”
Cllr Goldsmith agreed to meet with protesters on Monday morning.
“I believe in local democracy, and people’s right to protest lawfully,” said Cllr Goldsmith.
“We had a very constructive exchange of views, and it is clear there is a need for a national debate on this issue.”
Cllr Goldsmith said she now had a ‘closer understanding’ of the views of people and had agreed to write to prime minister David Cameron for a second time, calling for a government-led debate about the facts around hydraulic fracturing.