Campaign groups are rallying to oppose oil drilling at Broadford Bridge near Adversane with work set to commence at the site.
An oil drilling license was granted for the site under previous ownership, but some residents are calling for permission to be rescinded due to a lack of more recent consultation.
In a statement released today, the group wrote of their ‘shock and anger’ at the decision by UK Oil and Gas to go ahead with drilling.
It read: “This is totally unacceptable. We are calling on the Environment Agency, the (former) local MP Nick Herbert and West Sussex County Council to intervene immediately.
“The rig should be dismantled and all work should stop until the planning process is completed in an open and transparent way.
“Local people are angry and shocked. We will not stand to one site and let this continue.”
Acidisation planned at the site has been a particular source of contention with campaigners, with fears of water contamination issues in the surrounding area, although no such risk has been highlighted by the Environmental Agency.
The Broadford Bridge Action Group is a collaboration of existing campaign organisations including Keep Billingshurst Frack Free, which is opposed to acidisation as a drilling practice.
Green Party candidate for Arundel and the South Downs, Jo Prior, and rival Labour candidate Caroline Fife have both spoken out against the drilling work after an oil rig was spotted at the site yesterday.
Incumbent MP Nick Herbert has said he would press for fuller answers to questions raised if re-elected.
UK Oil and Gas has said acidisation is safe and all permits are in place.
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