The No Fracking in Balcombe Society, aka No FiBS, has hit out at Cuadrilla’s announcement yesterday that it does not intend to ‘frack’ at its Lower Stumble drill site in the village.
The energy firm has submitted a new planning application to ‘flow test’ the well, and stated that its exploratory drilling last summer revealed the strata is ‘naturally fractured’ and therefore hydraulic fracturing is not required.
In a letter sent out to Balcombe residents the firm’s chief executive Francis Egan said: “We can confirm that the target rock underneath Lower Stumble is naturally fractured. The presence of these natural fractures and the nature of the rock means that we do not intend to hydraulically fracture the exploration well at Lower Stumble now or in the future.”
However, No FiBS says that Balcombe villagers have ‘expressed their disbelief in Cuadrilla’s claim that they have no intention of fracking in the village’.
Balcombe mother of two and film producer Juliette Harris has lived in the village for more than 35 years.
She said: “Cuadrilla and the government will do anything they can to remove the fracking’ word from any future exploration.
“With a 30 year lease signed with the Balcombe Estate, fracking is clearly their intention.
“Whatever they wish to call their activities, Cuadrilla have no social licence to be in our community.
“The protest is alive and kicking.”
Kathryn McWhirter of No FiBS added: “We are in any case opposed to any form of exploration for gas or oil in our village, whether fracked or not.
“Both conventional and unconventional oil wells spell unacceptable dangers to health, environment and climate.”
Friends of the Earth’s South East campaigner Brenda Pollack also warned of the impact of drilling, regardless of its categorisation.
“While residents will undoubtedly be relieved that Cuadrilla has ruled out fracking at its Balcombe site, the community still faces the prospect of significant industrial activity on its doorstep.
“Local people will want more information about Cuadrilla’s plans and the potential impacts on their community and environment.
The campaigner added: “The threat of fracking elsewhere in Sussex has not disappeared - with applications for drilling in Fernhurst and Wisborough Green by Celtique Energy.
“With mounting evidence of the threat climate change poses to our environment and economy, we should be developing clean energy solutions, not more dirty fossil fuels.”
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