Press release
Fracking for oil or gas under South Downs would be madness

The South Downs National Park Authority Planning department has today (Wednesday 3 September 2014) recommended refusal of an oil drilling application at Fernhurst in West Sussex.

Reacting to the news Friends of the Earth South East Campaigner Brenda Pollack said:

“Villagers will be very pleased to see this recommendation to turn down this highly controversial project –the planning committee must heed this advice.

“Exploring for unconventional reserves of oil or gas under one of our most prized areas of natural beauty would be madness. The planning department is right to be concerned about the damage to the landscape, noise pollution and increased traffic.

“Fracked oil won’t keep our bills down or help to lower emissions. We should be making good use of the abundant sources of clean energy we have in the UK.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The report by the South Downs National Park Authority Planning department says:

‘Account has been taken of the latest national planning policy, principally the assessment in relation to demonstrating exceptional circumstance and public interest for major development in a designated area. Having considered the information submitted relating to the need, (including national considerations); cost of, and scope for developing elsewhere outside the designated area; and adverse impact on the environment, landscape and recreational opportunities together with other topic areas (as explored within Section 8 of the report), the applicant has not proven that the proposal would be in the public interest and that exceptional circumstances exist for the development to be permitted within the National Park.

‘Furthermore, the applicant has failed to demonstrate there are exceptional circumstances that would outweigh the significant and valid concerns relating to landscape impact, increase in heavy vehicle movements along Vann Road, together with insufficient noise details and controls to make the proposal acceptable in planning terms.

2. The planning committee of the South Downs National Park Authority is due to discuss this application on Thursday 11 September 2014 at Midhurst, West Sussex. For more information, please see here: http://www.southdowns.gov.uk/about-us/about-the-authority/committees/planning-committee/2014/11-september

3. Friends of the Earth has supported villagers’ in their campaign against this project and proposals to drill for oil at Wisborough Green and Balcombe in West Sussex.

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust