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Permission granted for hydrocarbon testing in West Sussex
11 Feb 2013
Permission granted for hydrocarbon testing in West Sussex

West Sussex County Council has approved a proposal for the development of a borehole and well site for the exploration, testing and evaluation of hydrocarbons at a site near Billingshurst.

The target reservoir was a conventional non-shale reservoir, sufficiently permeable that gas should flow naturally and the applicant stated that fracking would not be necessary. The development was for a temporary period and after evaluation of the resource it would either be restored or if the resource was found to be viable, a further application would be necessary to retain the development.

Concerns were raised by neighbours about the impact of additional traffic arising from the well site and the county’s landscape architect objected due to insufficient protection of an oak tree. The council concluded that there was a clear need for oil and gas exploration and that the well site would provide useful information about the sub surface geological structure of the country. There would be a relatively low number of vehicle movements associated with the development and the impact on the highway network was considered to be acceptable.

Permission was granted for a three-year period subject to conditions, including the requirement for a tree protection plan to be submitted for approval before works commenced on site.

Proposal: Temporary borehole, well site compound and access road
Site: Wood Barn Farm, Billingshurst
Authority: West Sussex
Applicant: Celtique Energie Weald Ltd
Decision: 5 February 2013
Reference: WSCC/052/12/WC