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Friends of the Earth urges objections to oil drilling

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Friends of the Earth has urged people to formally object to an oil company’s plans to to return to a Sussex village.Cuadrilla Resources drilled a well in Balcombe in 2013 to test for oil flow but the initial licence has expired.A public consultation on the company’s new application to explore the Lower Stumble site will end on Thursday. The company has said the well “requires no hydraulic fracturing because the rock is naturally fractured”.But Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth South East Campaigner, called the plans “bonkers”.’Beautiful countryside’The village was at the centre of protests in 2013 when Cuadrilla drilled an oil well there, with protesters fearing it would lead to fracking.The company’s new plans, which were submitted in October, request temporary permission to flow-test along with site security fencing, an enclosed testing flare and site restoration.But Ms Pollack said: “This is in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. “People come here to enjoy the beautiful countryside not to see and hear dirty oil operations.”We know that burning fossil fuels contributes to dangerous climate change. West Sussex council must refuse the plans.”Allowing companies to drill underground for ever-more difficult to extract oil and gas reserves is bonkers when it won’t help keep polluting emissions down.”A Cuadrilla spokesperson said: “Our planning application for our site in Balcombe covers the same work-scope as the previous planning permission: a flow test of the existing exploration well, plugging the well with cement, and fully restoring the site. “It follows new ecology surveys and environmental assessments undertaken this Summer, all of which demonstrate no material environmental impact from this relatively modest work scope. “All our operations fully comply with Environment Agency regulations which ensure that there will be minimal impact on the local environment.”
Source: BBC Sussex