Residents of Balcombe have come out strongly against exploration for oil or gas in their parish, including the use of the controversial fracking technique favoured by the government and dominating energy production in the US.
Balcombe Parish Council employed the Electoral Reform Services to conduct its second poll into the views of people living in the village.
They were asked to vote on the latest planning application by exploration company Cuadrilla Resources to test flow the drill hole it dug last summer amid angry protests by opponents of fracking.
The poll resulted in 60 per cent of people saying the parish council should oppose Cuadrilla’s application, with 34 per cent saying it should support the company.
A second question asked voters how the parish council members should respond to any future applications for energy exploration anywhere within the parish, if that did or might involve fracking.
Again, 61 per cent of people voted against exploration at any time in the future if it might involve fracking, while 15 per cent said the parish council should always support future applications with 22 per cent voting for each application to be treated on its merits.
A third and final question asked how the parish should respond to any future application that did not involve fracking.
This time 51 per cent of people said it should always oppose any application; 22 per cent said it should always support applications; and 24 per cent said any application should be treated on its merits.
The total response to the postal ballot was 59.8 per cent or 901 out of a total of 1,507 eligible voters on the electoral roll.
Balcombe Parish Council says its Oil Working Group will meet tomorrow (Wednesday February 26) and form a recommendation on the council’s future policy on hydrocarbon issues.
The recommendation will be discussed by the full parish council at an Extraordinary Meeting on Saturday March 8.
On its website it says: “ Balcombe Parish Council will not be issuing any statements on these results until such time as they have been discussed by the full Council.