More than 200 residents attended a land gas exploration and extraction drop in session last week to learn about the council’s role and environmental impacts.
Hosted by West Sussex County Council, the session took place at Pulborough Village Hall on Saturday (June 21) .
The event was attended by officers from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Energy and Climate Change as well as the county council.
Representatives from the South Downs National Park Authority were also present.
After the session, Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert told the County Times: “I thought this event was a good idea because local people want more information about what drilling for oil and gas in West Sussex would entail.
“I also thought that it was sensible to allow the local protest groups a stand as well as the agencies involved in regulating drilling.
“I had useful chats with councillors and officials, as well as with the ‘Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green’ group. They have produced a powerful new video which shows just how disruptive heavy lorry movements through the village would be, and I would urge people to watch it.
“While there are already productive oil wells in West Sussex which don’t cause problems, we must ensure that new drilling is sensibly located, and that any fracking is very carefully regulated to protect the chalk acquifers of the Downs.”
Also speaking after the event, a West Sussex County Council representative said: “The event was a great success with over 200 people attending to find out more about fracking and oil and gas exploration and extraction more generally.
“The event featured workshops on the science of oil and gas exploration, the regulation around oil and gas exploration and gave residents the opportunity to find out how they can best influence planning policy and process.
“We were really pleased that representatives from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and officers from the council’s planning team were there to be able to answer questions from members of the public. Friends of the Earth and campaign groups from Wisborough Green, Fernhurst and Balcombe attended and were able to explain their concerns to those in attendance.”
People attending learnt more about the processes involved and the role of the council as the local planning authority, but there were no site specific discussions where planning applications are live.