Today, a representative from FFF attended a meeting at County Hall with Louise Goldsmith, the Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council, representatives from Balcombe, Wisborough Green and Kirdford, a representative of small businesses and a representative from the protest camp. The meeting was arranged as a result of the protest camp set up outside County Hall and was the first direct contact that members of the public concerned about oil/gas exploration in the Sussex Weald have had with WSCC.
During the meeting, many issues were raised but, overall, the dialogue was constructive and it is hoped that WSCC will now appreciate the depth of concern felt by many ordinary members of the public about the possibility that oil/gas exploration in West Sussex could lead to total industrialisation of the Sussex Weald as well as all the potential problems (earthquakes, water contamination, inadequate water supplies, air,noise and light pollution) and the lack of adequate infrastructure and the impact on tourism.
The Chief Executive confirmed that she has called on the government to have a full and proper national debate about fracking. To date, the government has not responded to that call. Unfortunately, in the meantime, WSCC has to continue to deal with planning applications for oil/gas exploration on a case by case basis.