Standing up for your right to have a say in Balcombe
When the threat of fracking came to West Sussex we stepped in to defend the rights of local people.
Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for oil at the Lower Stumble site in Balcombe, West Sussex attracted fierce opposition from local people and national campaigners alike.
The Friends of the Earth Rights and Justice Centre successfully intervened twice. We secured more effective regulation and a better chance for local people to have their say.
Friends of the Earth first intervened in May 2013 after Cuadrilla failed to obtain environmental permits for handling and disposing of mining waste. The Environment Agency accepted our arguments, forcing Cuadrilla to apply for new permits.
The second successful intervention was in September 2013, when Cuadrilla admitted its planning permission for the Lower Stumble site was defective - because it failed to accurately describe the full extent of its underground activities in its application.
Working with local residents, our legal and planning advisors stopped Cuadrilla’s planning extension, forcing the company to submit a fresh application with the full consultation of local people. The government then made clear that it accepted our view when it published planning guidance for onshore drilling.
As well as helping people to raise their voices against unacceptable development plans, we forced the government to tighten up the regulation of oil and gas (including fracking) activities, closing loopholes which might otherwise have been exploited by developers.