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Anti-fracking protests to continue in West Sussex

Protestors are expected to return to the drilling site after Cuadrilla discovers a source of hydrocarbon

Cuadrilla has applied for a licence to carry out further exploratory work

Cuadrilla, the energy company responsible for carrying out exploratory drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex, has confirmed that it has applied for a licence to carry out further work.

The company has discovered a source of hydrocarbons, which can be used as fuel, and wants to return to measure flow rates and determine the viability of extracting the energy source.

Cuadrilla’s current licence expires on the 28 September and the company is in the process of vacating the site.

Cuadrilla thanks police force

Speaking on the protests which carried on throughout the drilling, Francis Egan, chief executive at Cuadrilla, said: “The well is now closed off for the coming months as Cuadrilla applies for planning permission to come back and test flow rates.

“We appreciate that the Balcombe community has had to bear the strain of protest, as have our on-site and support team and contractors.

“We commend West Sussex County Council and police for both facilitating peaceful protest and preserving order.”

At one point close to 1000 protestors set up camp outside the drilling site, more than 100 of which were arrested. Police costs are estimated at £2.4 million.

‘We have got to carry on the fight’

Protesters remain active and yesterday used a van to block off one of the roads leading to the drilling site.

Kathryn McWhirter, a member of the No Fracking in Balcombe Society, said: “It’s been a victory but it’s a temporary victory and we cannot sit still: we have got to carry on the fight.

“It is no longer simply about keeping fracking out of Balcombe and the UK. It’s about changing the government’s energy policy and making it an unacceptable process throughout the world.”

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