COUNTY NEWS: Sussex Green MEP slams councillors for backing fracking firm's return

Sussex Green MEP Keith Taylor has slammed councillors for backing a fracking firm's return to Sussex to test an oil well.

Sussex Green MEP Keith Taylor. Picture: Derek Martin
Sussex Green MEP Keith Taylor. Picture: Derek Martin

West Sussex county councillors unanimously approved the plan at County Hall in Chichester yesterday (January 9). Read our original story here.

Cuadrilla has been given two years’ permission to flow test and monitor an exploration well in Balcombe.

The Green MEP, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, said: “It’s a sad day for local residents and campaigners.

“Councillors have chosen to place the commercial interests of Cuadrilla above those of their own constituents and the planet.

“The people of Balcombe and voters across West Sussex have registered their opposition to these climate and environmentally-destructive plans time and time again.

“And we saw by the strength of opposition on the steps of the County Hall in Chichester that residents are continuing to say no – loudly and clearly.

“Councillors, however, have turned a deaf ear to their legitimate concerns.

“The fight isn’t over, though, the people of Balcombe have rebuffed Cuadrilla’s advances before and I will continue standing alongside them as they fight to protect their homes and communities once again.

“The government-backed unconventional oil and gas rush across the UK will not only despoil this Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty but will ensure the UK fails to meet its legally-binding climate change targets under the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement.”

“The scientific consensus on the climate breakdown has never been greater. The best chance we have of averting climate catastrophe is by keeping fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

“Instead of facilitating, and in many cases investing in the dirty oil and gas industry, councillors had an obligation to take note of the overwhelming public opposition to oil and gas drilling in the region and refuse permission for any new drilling.

“We need to be working to build a clean energy future – for West Sussex and across the UK.”