West Sussex County Council moves to evict remaining Balcombe fracking protesters

News Posted 21/11/13
Protesters remain concerned by the potential environmental impact of shale gas extraction at sites across the South East

An injunction to remove the remaining anti-fracking campaigners at Balcombe has been carried out by West Sussex County Council.

The move, which was undertaken on health and safety grounds on Tuesday (November 19) came as a separate demonstration took place at County Hall in Chichester in which protesters camped out in front of the building.

But after “constructive conversations’’ on concerns over plans for shale gas extraction with county council leader Louise Goldsmith, they left the site earlier this week. However, protesters expressed renewed fears surrounding drilling firm Cuadrilla’s, which had been forced to withdraw from its initial testing at Balcombe, which sparked huge national media interest this summer.

The protests led to a number of arrests at the site including Brighton’s Green MP Caroline Lucas, who described the West Sussex village as the “new frontier” for the dispute over gas extraction.

According to campaigners, Cuadrilla is expected to re-submit a revised application for shale gas extraction at the site – which campaigners claim could have significant potential environmental impact.

Protesters had also voiced their dismay at similar potential drilling across other sites within West Sussex including near Wisborough Green. Speaking to South East Business, Balcombe resident, Kathryn McWhirter, said that she was “especially concerned” by the expected revised application from Cuadrilla.

In an interview with our magazine this summer, Business Minister Michael Fallon, the MP for Sevenoaks, expressed confidence in the potential economic benefits of shale gas drilling across the South East.

He stated that its use in other countries including America had demonstrated that it was a legitimate source of energy that could be valuable for the UK economy. See more on this story in the next edition of South East Business

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