VIDEO: Work halted as campaigners block entrance to fracking site

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Work has come to a standstill at Fracking company Cuadrilla Resource’s site in Balcombe, Sussex. As of 7.30am, campaigners blockading the road leading to the company’s site have denied entrance to articulated trucks and work vehicles.

15 articulated vehicles are expected at 10am this morning, with tail-backs already visible in the village.

Campaigners at the site

Campaigners at the site

The protest was organised under he name of The Great Gas Gala! and was called in response to an announcement from the Environment Agency and West Sussex County Council that Cuadrilla would start drilling as soon as Saturday.

Alex Griffiths, one of those taking part in the blockade, said: “People are realising that if we are going to protect ourselves from this industry we are going to have to do it ourselves. After 5000 signatures on petitions and nearly a thousand objections being sent to the Environment Agency work is still going ahead.”

She continued: ‘We have tried other methods. We now have no choice but to take matters into our own hands and protect ourselves from the threat fracking poses to our health and environment’.

The Environment Agency has yesterday (Wednesday, 24 July) granted a mining waste permit to Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd (Cuadrilla). This permit covers the management of wastes arising from an exploratory borehole to test for oil and gas reserves at Balcombe in West Sussex.

After a thorough assessment the Environment Agency is confident that, providing their permit is complied with, the environment will be protected. The company is not proposing to carry out any hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as part of this activity.

Before reaching its decision, the Environment Agency reviewed concerns raised by local people during the four week consultation with communities, interested groups and other professional organisations.

The permit will require the company to manage its waste effectively in order to protect local people and the environment. Environment Agency officers will now enforce these operating conditions.

Chris Wick of the Environment Agency said: “We have scrutinised the application rigorously together with undertaking a full public consultation to gather in any local information necessary to determine the permit. We would like to thank all those people who responded to this consultation.

“Detailed information from the company shows they have the necessary plans in place to carry out this activity to the highest environmental standards. If the activity goes ahead as planned, we will monitor Cuadrilla’s operations and work with other regulators to ensure that the activity does not cause harm to people and the environment.”

The environmental permit and the decision document outlining how we reached our decision are available here https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/permits/app/cuadrilla/balcombe.

Cuadrilla has also formally applied for a permit to manage any waste water or solid waste which may contain naturally occurring radioactive substances. Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) are present in many types of rocks. Sometimes, waste water from such activities can contain low levels of this NORM. A permit is required to ensure safe disposal of any waste that may fall within the scope of the regulations.

Cuadrilla does not need this permit to drill a borehole, but the company will need it in order to carry out well testing.

Cuadrilla’s application is available on our website: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/

People now have the chance to comment on the proposals by visiting our website or by emailing: rsr.rotherham2.ne@environment-agency.gov.uk