THIS IS AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION
PROPOSED OIL&GAS EXPLORATION at KIRDFORD/WISBOROUGH GREEN
A small company Celtique Energie (CE) has applied to construct an Exploratory Oil/gas well 0.8 miles from the village of Wisborough Green on the boundaries of the Kirdford and Wisborough Green parishes.
This page is a guide about how to object to that planning application.
The information has been produced by villagers of Keep Kirdford Wisborough Green (KKWG) who know and value the area and are very concerned about it.
If you share these concerns it is important to use your voice now. Every objection counts, and the more objections sent in, the better.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE IT TO EVERYONE ELSE
THE DEADLINE WAS: FRIDAY, JUNE 20TH, 2014 for form submissions
HOWEVER emails and letters must still be taken into consideration, up until the 11th of July
You can object online at
or by writing to WSCC Planning, County Hall, Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1RH quoting the Reference No: WSCC/083/13/KD, LAND SOUTH OF BOXAL BRIDGE, WISBOROUGH GREEN You can read the application at WSCC Planning applications.
It is important that each objection is presented in your own words. Photocopied or template responses may be ignored.
Every adult can object as can friends and family who know the area.
Objections should be specifically made about this site. General concerns about issues such as government energy policy will be ignored.
Please DO NOT object on the grounds of the possible future use of “fracking” or on any adverse impact on house prices – these are NOT valid reasons to object and your letter will be dismissed.
Your objection can be as long or as short as you like.
FRACKING is a way of extracting natural gas or oil beneath our feet by pumping a cocktail of chemicals plus water and sand at high pressure to crack open shale rock under the ground. The technology is new and untested in the UK and the energy produced is referred to as unconventional gas.
The GEOLOGY of an area needs to have no faults or the materials moving up and down the well could appear in unexpected places and risk contaminating the air and water. The geology under the Weald is riddled with fissures and faults according to Professor of Geology, David Smythe, is thus entirely unsuitable.
Planning permission is needed in the first place for drilling an EXPLORATION WELL. This is STAGE 1. If oil or gas is found, further permission is needed for a 2nd STAGE EXPLOITATION WELL. This could then lead to a site developing into a WELLPAD covering 2hs (the size of a football pitch) which could, in turn, contain up to 10 wells. And then, by using underground directional drilling, this could result in up to 100 horizontal drill paths for any one unconventional gas drilling wellpad above ground.
The cumulative impact of many wells would thus be much higher than that for that an individual well.
WATER: A large amount of water is required at the EXPLOITATION stage – up to 5 million gallons per well or more, hence 50 million gallons for one wellpad containing 10 wells. Sussex is an area of extreme water shortage.
POLLUTION DANGERS: While some 30-70% of the water used remains under-ground, the flowback waste water which emerges from the well is contaminated, needs to be cleaned and disposed of. There is a danger of polluting the water aquifer both from the fracking fluid and from toxic and radioactive material originating under-ground (known as NORM, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material).
TRANSPORT: Each well, if was to be Exploited, would, according to an independent oil executive, Peter Carson, require 400 tankers to transport the amount of water needed. Thus a well pad would need a minimum of 4,000 tanker trips.
LOCAL COMMUNITY: This proposed development would lead to the industrialisation of a rural area, to heavy transport using unsuitable lanes and roads and risks to the environment of noise, vibration and pollution and disruption lasting years.
WILDLIFE AND LANDSCAPE: this area of the Weald is specially protected in view of its sensitive landscape, habitats and species. In particular, very rare internationally important bats use the site at Kirdford near Boxal Bridge to forage for food. Any light, noise or vibration would cause disturbance to these mammals and would be considered as illegal under the European Union Habitats Directive.
DARK SKIES: this is one of the few areas in the UK where the stars can clearly be seen and the South Downs National Park wants to get the area designated as a Dark Skies Reserve.
HOW BEST TO OBJECT TO THIS APPLICATION
We suggest you might want to use some of the following points or those mentioned opposite – they have been chosen to be relevant to the planning rules rather than based on wider concerns:
DO NOT MENTION FRACKING – ONLY USE THE TERM “DRILLING”
The proposed site on land to the south of Boxal Bridge is completely inappropriate:
It is less than 500ms from the SDNP and within the CDC buffer zone of 7 kms
Is adjacent to a Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve at Northup Copse
Lies within the specially protected landscape of the Low Weald
Is underlain by a geology which is very faulted and thus unsuitable
Lies on and is adjacent to areas used by the very rare Barbastelle and Bechstein bats which are internationally important species
Will force large volumes of Heavy Goods Vehicles through the village
Will involve the prevention of parking round the Green (proposed by the company)
Is on an area which was flooded at Christmas and can only be accessed by lanes which themselves were flooded
Will involve the use of large amounts of clean water in a water-stressed area and will leave unknown amounts of materials within the ground
Will bring back to the surface liquids including Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) which would require particularly special attention.
Overall Costs and Benefits
This is an application for an Exploratory well. However, it is clear from company information supplied to their investors that the ultimate goal is to move to full production. They emphasise the need for Oil&Gas and possible benefits from production whilst, at the same time, dismissing (wishing to ignore) the adverse impacts of Exploration/Exploitation as unimportant because it is “only temporary”. BUT a recent report (BGS, May 23rd) states there is NO Gas under our area.
Traffic, Access and Road Safety
Kirdford Road is a winding lane with several pinch points that is structurally unsuitable (in layout and in load-bearing strength – witness Boxal Bridge) for large vehicles and heavy loads.
The extra traffic will generate significant air and noise pollution as well as vibration.
There is no pavement but the lane does form a link to the village.
The road which would be used does not provide a turning circle at the cross roads – the traffic would need to cross onto the wrong side of the carriageway.
The proposed route would pass the Green, the playground, the Pubs and their open views – areas which many people use regularly and which provide recreation and economic support for villagers and visitors.
Noise, Light and Visual impact
This area is one of the most tranquil in the county – it is completely dark and quiet at night. It is contained within an area the South Downs National Park wishes to see included in its Dark Skies Reserve.
Emissions from HGVs and large static diesel engines will create problems for those living nearby. In US and Australia the nearest residential building to such drills must be a minimum of 1500 ms away.
Even during Exploration there are risks that the surface water could become contaminated on site or on the road. Potentially contaminated drilling mud and drill cuttings will have to be transported out by road. It the well leaks at some point it provides another potential source of pollution.
According to figures supplied by the Oil/Gas industry 6% of all boreholes developed in the UK leak from the start and 50% leak within 30 years. By the end of a rig’s lifetime they all leak. This enables the fluid put down the well to come back and to get into places this type of fluid should not be found ie acid; chemicals or sand
Contingency plans – what if something goes wrong?
Guess who pays?
Celtique Energie employs less than 30 employees. Given the nature of the work and their record to date we would question CE’s ability to exercise proper oversight.
Once they locate any supply of Oil/Gas under our feet they will sell on the site to larger concerns such as their partner, Magellan.
Assertions (rather than evidence) are regularly made about the UK regulatory framework and its ability to oversee the processes involved. It is fragmented and the responsibilities are shared out. When noise limits were exceeded at Balcombe local people complained but nothing happened. A local resident had to buy equipment and measure the sound levels before anything got done to keep them in line with the agreed condition and get the unreasonable level of sound reduced.
Repeatedly assertions are made about the importance and value of UK energy resources and their extraction including the newly developed techniques for obtaining shale gas and oil. While we agree that the UK uses a lot of energy and needs to think about the future….what we have looked for in connection with this application is the current state of knowledge and independent EVIDENCE which has been confirmed by other reports and that EVIDENCE shows how damaging the process would be.
Celtique Energie, applied to do the same at Fernhurst in the South Downs National Park (SDNP) and have had to supply extra information. 30 new documents are now available on the SDNP website for Fernhurst with a closing date for comments of May 27th, 2014 but the Park is accepting any information sent before their decision meeting on July 10th.
Reference No: SDNP/13/05896/CM; 9 Acre Copse
Look on these websites for further help and guidance:
Frack Free Fernhurst: www.frackfreefernhurst.com/
South Downs National Park www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning/search
PLEASE OPPOSE BOTH of these APPLICATIONS
JOIN KKWG and help safeguard our area, its people and its wildlife.