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Special Digest

Cuadrilla forced to withdraw two planning applications

02/09/2013

Cuadrilla have withdrawn their applications for modifying their existing application (6 months extra time, and the modified flaring). That's the good news. The bad news is that they plan to put in a new application, by 27th September.

The major point at issue seemed to be the failure of the original appliation to specify details of the planned horizontal well.

It seemed as though Cuadrilla and WSCC have got the message that the amendment applications could not be reasonably granted lawfully. In which case congratulations are due to those in Balcombe who have been working on the technical side (as well, of course, to the Balcombe Protection Camp!).

What we must now push for is an Environmental Impact Assessment to accompany the new application.

The announcement by WSCC-

"Re: Lower Stumble Hydrocarbon Exploration Site - Planning applications

On 2 September 2013, the two planning applications relating to oil exploration at Balcombe (ref. WSCC/061/13/BA seeking a six month extension in time, and WSCC/063/13/BA seeking increased flare height) were withdrawn by the applicant.

The applicant (Cuadrilla) has confirmed their intention to submit a new planning application by 27 September 2013 to allow for additional time to carry out the well testing at the site allowed under the current permission (WSCC/027/10/BA). They have confirmed that the activity sought under the new application will not involve drill stem testing, additional drilling, or hydraulic fracturing.

Once the new application has been registered, you will be contacted as part of the public consultation process.

Cuadrilla’s emails withdrawing the applications and setting out their intentions for the site, are available on the County Council’s website - see the above links.

For information, the meeting of the Planning Committee on 19 September 2013 has been cancelled."


The notification from Cuadrilla

"Dear Mr Elkington

I refer to our recent discussions in connection with the drilling operations at Balcombe and the arrangements to secure an extension of time for the completion of these works. As discussed, we have decided to reassess our programme and, in turn, the terms of our current planning application. Cuadrilla has decided to submit a new planning application for its site at Lower Stumble, Balcombe which will include revised boundary lines showing the extent of the horizontal well which is to be flow tested. The application will cover the same well testing that is in the currently permitted activity, subject to there being no drill stem test, additional drilling or any hydraulic fracturing.

We believe that this approach will provide clear benefits to the County Council and the local residents of Balcombe. The replacement scheme will define the terms of our proposal and will make clear that we do not intend to hydraulically fracture the well during this testing operation. The revised scheme will also provide the opportunity for the county council to consult with interested third parties and further public engagement.

In the circumstances, we now intend to complete all drilling operations in compliance with the extant planning permission and confirm that these works should be completed by mid-September. In any event, the site will be suspended before the expiry of the temporary consent on 27 September. In the interim, we will replace the current section 73 application with a full planning application. As discussed, this will be submitted to the County Council in advance of the expiry of the current planning permission.

I hope that this assists in clarifying our position.
Kind Regards
Chris"

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