Opponents of drilling in the South Downs National Park celebrated after the rejection of Celtique Energie’s application for an exploratory oil well near the village of Fernhurst. The National Park’s planning committee followed the advice of planning officers and voted unanimously against the application.
Below we share the personal reflections of some of our campaigners who have been involved in the campaign to stop the drilling in our National Park.
“The sweet taste of success. It was worth all the protesting and letters and stalls and postcards over the last 18 months. Obviously not the end of the would-be frackers – but it feels good today. I went into the two hour SDNP Planning Board meeting expecting it to be boring – quite the opposite. It was informative, emotional and revealing. In my opinion the Board members were informed and very aware of their responsibilities. Celtique “read from the script” in expensive suits referring to national interest. The objectors were passionate and nervous. The Environment Agency couldn’t answer the Chair’s questions about water volumes in and out – especially if there was flooding. The observers and participants inside the meeting and outside were a complete social mix – with a good turn-out of “Middle England”. Main stream political parties will take note. The anti-fracking campaign may now move away from this area but hopefully we will be able to support those fighting similar schemes in Lancashire. “
“An excellent meeting. Local residents (including a couple of actors), committed campaigners and environmentalists were well represented amongst others from far and wide….even a grannie from Ashford. Everyone was very compliant of the Chair’s request for “no cheering, clapping or booing” except for one occasion when a local father made his personal and emotional presentation and the hall broke into spontaneous applause. The Council Report and debate were both detailed and impressive, leaving Celtique with no support and by comparison fairly unimpressive. The unanimous vote rejecting the application was the icing on the cake…..quite emotional all round. It’s great to go home feeling victorious. “
Brenda Pollack (Friends of the Earth’s South East Regional Campaigner) said:
“This is a victory for common sense. There should be no place for shale oil or gas exploration in our national parks. But thousands of communities across the country still face the threat of fracking in their back yard. It’s time to build a clean energy future based on efficiency and developing the nation’s significant potential for renewable power, and ending our dirty and damaging addiction to fossil fuels.”