Fracking in Balcombe - thanks but no thanks!

Fracking site near Balcombe
Fracking site near Balcombe

A poll of Balcombe residents has shown an overwhelming majority are opposed to hydraulic fracturing in the parish.

Drilling company Caudrilla’s plans to explore for oil or gas off the B2036, a mile from the village centre, have prompted strong feelings.

Balcombe Parish Council decided to investigate the risks and benefits of so-called fracking, particularly as they would affect Balcombe, and to obtain residents’ views.

Itsworking group published its report and delivered a copy to every residence in the parish followed by a polling card inviting them to indicate whether they believed that the parish council should or should not oppose fracking, or that they had no strong views.

A total of 284 polling cards were returned with 235 (82.7 per cent) indicating that the parish council should oppose fracking, 29 that it should not, 15 indicating no strong views, with five polling cards being invalid.

Some 270 respondents (95.1 per cent) indicated they had read the working group’s report. Of those opposed to fracking, 125 gave reasons. The top 10 concerns, and the number of people who mentioned each, were:

Increase in road traffic, 46; Pollution of water supplies, 36; Impact on the environment, 28; Risks, but no benefits for Balcombe, 27; Too many unknowns, 23; Impact on an AONB, 15; Effect on property values, 14; Tremors, landslip or subsidence, 14; Ethical considerations, 11; Effects on the railway infrastructure, eight.

Balcombe Parish Council vice-chairman Rodney Saunders said the parish council had no direct role in any decision making on whether or not fracking would be permitted but would promote the majority view of those residents who participated in the fracking poll if any exploration for oil involving fracking was proposed.