Celtique to appeal against drilling decision at Kirdford and Wisborough Green

Actors Susan Jamison (left)  and her husband James Bolam pictured after the refusal in September
Actors Susan Jamison (left) and her husband James Bolam pictured after the refusal in September

TELEVISION stars Susan Jamieson and her husband James Bolam will be back in action with fellow anti fracking campaigners after news Celtique Energie is to appeal against refusal of planning permission for a temporary exploration well near the villages of Kirdford and Wisborough Green.

The company’s application was turned down by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) in September.

Celtique is now lodging an appeal with the government planning inspectors.

Celtique Energie boss Geoff Davies said: “We are firmly of the view that WSCC has not followed the spirit or the letter of Government policy or good practice in dealing with this planning application, which is totally compliant, comprehensive and of high quality.

“Therefore we have no option but to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, for it to take a fair and objective view.”

He said Celtique Energie believed it had chosen the best site to carry out its exploratory work.

“From our detailed studies we believe that this is an optimal location to undertake exploratory drilling to quantify the amount of untapped oil or gas resources present in this part of the Weald Basin, which we think has the potential to be nationally significant.

“Therefore securing planning permission to explore at this site is essential if we are to prove how significant this resource could be for the country.”

But the announcement has been greeted with dismay by those who waged a strong campaign against the controversial proposal.

Friends of the Earth South East campaigner Brenda Pollack said: “This appeal will cast a dark shadow over the lives of local residents who have made it clear that they don’t want fracking to take place in their backyard.”

She added: “There were clear and sound reasons to refuse this application, less than 500 metres from the South Downs National Park - not least the impacts of extra traffic on a conservation area.

And she called on the government inspectors to adhere to the decision made by the county council’s planning committee: “The Planning Inspectorate must uphold the council’s decision and reject Celtique Energie’s appeal.”