Potential pollution near Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site

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A potential pollution incident near energy exploration company Cuadrilla’s Balcombe drilling site was today (Wednesday) being investigated by the Environment Agency.

The EA said: “Yesterday afternoon we were made aware of a potential pollution incident on the Balcombe Green stream near Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling site at Balcombe.

“Several callers reported that a short section of the stream had turned bright green.

“Our officers visited the watercourse yesterday evening with the police to make an initial assessment, and samples have been taken for further analysis.

“There is no evidence of significant environmental harm (e.g. dead invertebrates or fish in distress) downstream of the discoloured water; or of any threat to the local water supply, which is provided from Barcombe approximately 15 miles downstream of the site.”

The Environment Agency sent out the information by email to people who had expressed an interest in any developments at the Balcombe site where protesters have been camping since July.

Cuadrilla finally left the site on Saturday (September 28) when its planning permission expired.

It has given notice that it has found ‘hydrocarbons’ - oil in this case - and intends to apply for fresh planning permission to continue its exploration to see how easily or not the oil can be extracted.

The results will determine whether or not it applies to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at a later date, which would precipitate more protests.

The EA said: “Our officers have returned to the site today, in daylight, to investigate the cause and take further samples. At present we are keeping an open mind regarding the source.

“We are asking members of the public to phone our incident room directly on (01903) 832064 if they have any information about the cause of this incident.

“We will publish an update on our initial investigations on our Balcombe webpages when we have further information to share.”

General enquiries about Balcombe should be directed to the EA’s Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506 506 or e-mailed to {mail:|SSDenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk|}