- 11 March 2015 – Celtique Energie Weald Ltd’s appeal against West Sussex County Council’s refusal of planning permission for exploration at Boxal Bridge, Northup Field, Wisborough Green, has been withdrawn. Application and appeal documents remain online (WSCC/083/13/KD).
- 5 December 2014 – the High Court has dismissed Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association’s (FFBRA’s) claim for a judicial review to quash the County Council’s grant of planning permission for oil and gas exploration and appraisal south of Balcombe (WSCC/005/14/BA).
The claim challenged the approval on 6 grounds but was dismissed by the judge who concluded that the decision was sound. Therefore the permission still stands and must be implemented by 2 May 2017.
- 8 November 2014 - We hosted another oil and gas exhibition with regulatory bodies and interest groups providing information to residents. View the presentations from regulators and an academic specialising in the field:
- Friday 17 October 2014 - Full Council debated a petition “calling on West Sussex County Council to declare West Sussex a ‘Frack-Free’ Zone”. The petition was unsuccessful.
- 11 September 2014 – Planning permission was refused for exploration at Nine Acre, Vann Road near Fernhurst (SDNP/13/06896/CM).
- 21 June 2014 – We hosted an oil and gas exhibition in Pulborough. Regulatory bodies and interest groups provided information to residents, which included presentations on oil and gas development, regulation and how they are working with the planning process.
Oil and gas extraction
No sites are currently being fracked in West Sussex.
Oil and gas make an essential contribution to the country’s prosperity and quality of life and play an important part in our energy mix during the transition to low carbon energy supplies. Unconventional hydrocarbons are emerging as a form of energy supply and there is a need to establish (through exploratory drilling) whether they are present and viable for production.
West Sussex County Council’s role
We are the mineral planning authority (MPA) for the area of West Sussex outside the South Downs National Park. The South Downs National Park Authority is the MPA for the National Park.
As the MPA, we are responsible for determining planning applications for onshore hydrocarbon extraction. We have to work within the planning system which governs the development and use of land in the public interest.
In West Sussex, drilling for oil and gas has been ongoing since the 1970s and continues today.
Our key role is in deciding applications for oil and gas exploration. An operator has to get planning permission to drill on a site and submits an application for consideration. If they subsequently want to go into oil production the operator must get a further permission.
The document below provides answers to questions with regard to hydrocarbon extraction and fracking, as well as giving some national and local context, the current position of the County Council, the planning application process and information relating to Cuadrilla and Balcombe.
Various companies have petroleum exploration and development licences in West Sussex. Maps showing onshore licence areas are available on the DECC website.
Permitted sites and current applications
We have granted planning permission for a number of exploratory drilling operations and oil production sites, subject to conditions, which are set out below.
Please note that there are also a number of oil/gas sites within the South Downs National Park. Details of applications on these sites are available on the National Park Authority’s website.
- Site: Balcombe - Lower Stumble Wood, London Road, Balcombe, RH17 6JH
Application: Temporary planning permission for 6 months' exploration/appraisal by flow testing, to be started within 3 years.
Planning application: WSCC/005/14/BA
- Site: Broadford Bridge - Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, Broadford Bridge, Billingshurst, RH14 9EB
Application: Planning permission for oil and gas exploration for 3 years from the date of construction commencing.
Planning application: WSCC/052/12/WC
- Site: Lidsey - Lidsey Road, Aldingbourne, PO22 9PL
Application: Planning permission for oil production until 20 February 2018.
Planning application: BN/31/05
- Site: Storrington - Pulborough Road, Cootham, Storrington, West Sussex, RH20 4HP
Application: Planning permission for oil production until 31 December 2017.
Planning application: WSCC/050/13/SR