in Co Fermanagh, where Tamboran Resources has begun test drilling near Belcoo, and in Co Leitrim, where the same Australian-owned company is preparing plans for another shale gas exploration project.
This is incorrect!!
Please note: Tamboran had applied for testdrilling and today it was rejected under permitted development rights.
Something unusual happened in West Sussex last month: a small rural community took on the fracking industry – and won. Indeed, the people of Wisborough Green could barely believe it when their district council’s planning committee unanimously rejected test-drilling plans by Celtique Energie.
“The vote was called all the hands shot up in the air and it was over – application refused,” says Simon Clydesdale of Greenpeace. “The room exploded, cheers, hugs, kisses, backslapping and smiles all around.
“A lot of anxiety, sweat, toil and tears had led to this moment, the sense of triumph and relief was tangible.”
This turnabout was the first major reversal of what Greenpeace has branded as “the UK’s fracking juggernaut”, which is backed by British prime minister David Cameron. He has said that fracking would be “good for our country”, suggesting that “uncertainties, worries and concerns” derived from a “lack of understanding”.
The British government is so committed to the “exciting prospect” of fracking that it is now prepared to open up more of the country to shale oil and gas companies, running from central Scotland to the south coast of England; nearly 3,000 wells could be drilled in areas totalling 96,000sq km under the latest licensing round.
Celtique’s planning application to drill for oil and gas in West Sussex had attracted nearly 2,500 objections, mainly on the grounds of its likely negative impact on the landscape, fears about the danger of water contamination from fracking fluids and a huge increase in heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on narrow country roads.
Traffic turned out to be the Achilles heel. West Sussex District Council’s planners recommended a refusal on the basis that Celtique had seriously underestimated the increase in HGVs. The company claimed there would be an 11-13 per cent rise, but the planners warned it could be as high as 64 per cent.
Although turned down on quite narrow grounds, Clydesdale believes that the council’s decision “sets an example” for other planning authorities in dealing with fracking applications by Celtique for a site in the highly sensitive South Downs National Park and by another company, Cuadrilla, for Roseacre Wood in Lancashire.
The West Sussex refusal has been noted and welcomed by anti-fracking campaigners on both sides of the Border here – in Co Fermanagh, where Tamboran Resources has begun test drilling near Belcoo, and in Co Leitrim, where the same Australian-owned company is preparing plans for another shale gas exploration project.
Objectors have also been heartened by California’s recent decision to order an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas “waste-injection sites” and a review of more than 100 others in the drought-stricken Central Valley because of fears that fracking fluids and other toxic waste were being pumped into drinking water aquifers.