CPRE Sussex continues to oppose ‘fracking’

24th February 2020

CPRE Sussex will continue to oppose unconventional exploration for, and exploitation of, hydrocarbons in Sussex.

 

We oppose unconventional exploration for, and exploitation of, hydrocarbons in Sussex because:

  • It is incompatible with our need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels as part of the drive for clean energy to meet our national and international climate change commitments;
  • Rural sites are inevitably harmful to the countryside; and the location of some sites within or close to the South Downs National Park (Markwells Wood) and the High Weald AONB (Balcombe) is irreconcilable with their statutorily enshrined natural beauty conservation and enhancement purposes;
  • The fracturing of the subsurface rocks needed to extract the oil from geologically splintered layers in which it lies risks causing gradual, irreversible, pollution of aquifer reservoirs and, possibly, earthquakes;
  • Site operations cause inevitable ground, air and noise pollution hazards, and unacceptable disruption to nearby communities; and
  • There is no energy security or other economic imperative that outweighs its serious environmental harm and hazards.

The companies seeking to drill here are all small enterprises with no public reputations to protect.  In CPRE’s view their private gain must give way to the great public benefit of protecting our environment, climate and countryside.

Other CPRE Sussex successes include persuading a House of Commons Select Committee considering fracking regulation of the need for a broad, consistent definition of fracking and to recommend that a Government proposal to remove local democratic control over hydrocarbon planning applications be scrapped.

So far we have been less successful in persuading West Sussex County Council of the vital importance of climate change in formulating and applying their Minerals Plan policies.  We have yet to see West Sussex Countu Council’s acceptance in 2019 that Sussex faces a climate emergency translated into action either in terms of policy setting or planning application decisions.  We won’t give up!