West Sussex County Council yesterday voted in favour (only one against) Cuadrilla's application to "flow test" the Lower Stumble Wood Site in Balcombe

Transient

It's clear from listening to the reading of the Planning Officer's report and subsequent questions that this County Council (one presumes all others) defer to the EA and HSA in all matters pertaining to environmental impact. To quote the Planning O...fficer "we have no alternative but to take their recommendations".

Staggeringly, almost all Councillors questions were to do with which way to route the traffic, and no more than a couple of references to the the wishes of the local community - whose articulate, intelligent, and relevant representations were passed over, and seemed not to have any influence come the vote.

Our take on the whole charade? The planning process is not fit for purpose, elected councillors are insufficiently informed to make sound decisions and finally, even if they were. it looks very much like their hands are tied by over dependence on the equally unfit for purpose EA (who were represented) and the HSE who did not show up - true to form.

Worrying? Yes.
Surprising? No.

The verges are looking good for "a gathering".