Fracking firm lodging appeal after council rejects its planning application | Environment | The Guardian

A fracking company is lodging an appeal against a county council decision to refuse it permission to explore for oil and gas.

West Sussex county council’s planning committee refused the application by Celtique Energie for oil and gas exploration near Wisborough Green, a conservation area just outside the South Downs national park, in July.

The refusal, thought to be the first time a council had rejected a planning application by a fracking company, was welcomed by local campaigners and environmentalists.

The county council said it turned down the application because Celtique did not demonstrate the site represented the best option compared with other sites, it had unsafe highways access and would have had an adverse impact on the area.


The company has now said it is lodging an appeal with the planning inspectorate, claiming the council’s reasons for rejecting the application were “fundamentally unsound”.

Geoff Davies, chief executive at Celtique Energie said: “We are firmly of the view that West Sussex County Council 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.

“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.”

Celtique’s bid to explore for oil and gas prompted local opposition, including from actor James Bolam and his wife, fellow actor Susan Jameson.

Celtique also had an application turned down to drill a temporary well to test for oil and gas in the South Downs national park, near the village of Fernhurst, West Sussex.

The company has not yet made a decision on whether it will appeal against that decision by the South Downs National Park Authority.

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.

“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.

“The Planning Inspectorate must uphold the council’s decision and reject Celtique Energie’s appeal.”

via Fracking firm lodging appeal after council rejects its planning application | Environment | The Guardian.