FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FFBRA (FRACK FREE BALCOMBE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION)
FFBRA’s claim for Judicial Review was rejected this morning in the High Court by Mr Justice Gilbart. We are obviously disappointed. We, along with lawyers Leigh Day, believe the judge did not address our key arguments.
Nevertheless, bringing our case to the High Court was a victory in itself, and has raised important issues. Councillors in West Sussex (and throughout the two-thirds of the UK at risk from exploration for unconventional oil and gas) will in future be forced to take applications from oil and gas companies more seriously. We believe this will make for more informed planning decisions in the future.
Judicial Review revolves around criticism of procedure, in our case the way the council considered Cuadrilla’s application, the importance attributed to certain issues, and our belief that councillors on the planning committee were misadvised by the Planning Officer and lawyers for the council. It did not and could not address the rights and wrongs of exploration for oil in our village.
Sue Taylor, Vice Chair of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association said, ‘Residents of Balcombe will be exposed to real health risks, as will local water courses and public water supplies. We wanted to have the existing planning permission rescinded so that these issues could be fully investigated before any further work is done to the well. Judge Gilbert’s refusal to address our genuine concerns is a lost opportunity.’