VIDEO: Anti-oil exploration campaign ‘Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green’ ready for the long haul

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“We are in it for the long haul,” Stu Clark of campaign group ‘Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green’ told the County Times at the site of proposed drilling by oil and gas exploration company Celtique Energie.

“We have formed a working group committed to making sure the ghastly initial application is looked into as thoroughly as it can be and hopefully have the first application refused, and subsequent appeals dismissed, and then take up the court battle and through to the Supreme Court if need be.

JPCT 130813 Local land owner Stu Clark on ancient bridge near Celtique proposed drilling site in Wisborough Green. Photo by Derek Martin.

JPCT 130813 Local land owner Stu Clark on ancient bridge near Celtique proposed drilling site in Wisborough Green. Photo by Derek Martin.

“And there is funding in place for that,” confirmed the 36 year old local land owner who has lived in the Wisborough Green area for the past 15 years.

The campaign group has been established in response to Celtique Energie’s bid to explore for oil and gas at one of two sites in West Sussex, at Wisborough Green. The other site is at Fernhurst. The company already has planning permission to explore for conventional deposits near Adversane at Broadford Bridge.

Backed by the Henfield-based Sussex Wildlife Trust which owns a neighbouring nature reserve to the proposed drill site off the Kirdford Road, Mr Clark stated their campaign will hopefully not result in scenes witnessed at Balcombe in recent weeks being repeated .

“We are keeping it very site specific here, and we are not trying to link up to other groups.

JPCT 130813 Petra Billings, SWT landscapes officer, at Celtique proposed drilling site in Wisborough Green. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 130813 Petra Billings, SWT landscapes officer, at Celtique proposed drilling site in Wisborough Green. Photo by Derek Martin

“There is a danger that it could go from being concerned residents to suddenly being labelled as eco-extremists and that’s a label we are extremely keen not to be branded with.”

Instead, the group hopes conventional responses to Celtique’s planning application, expected in the next few weeks, will prove the site is an inappropriate location for a drill site.

In addition to traffic and infrastructure concerns, much of their argument will be centred around environmental considerations.

A spokesperson for Celtique Energie told the County Times: “The focus of Celtique’s forthcoming planning applications at Wisborough Green and Fernhurst is to target conventional oil and gas reserves within the Kimmeridge limestone and the Great Oolite, and hydraulic fracturing is not being proposed as part of either application.

“However, in line with our commitment to open and transparent communication with the public, we have clearly stated that we would also take data on shale rock formations encountered in each well to look at the potential in the Kimmeridge shale and the Liassic shale.

“Until such time as we undertake exploratory drilling to gather data, we cannot verify whether commercially viable levels of hydrocarbons are present in these multiple objectives.”

To hear more from ‘Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green’ spokesperson Stu Clark watch the video.

What do you think of oil exploration in West Sussex? Leave a comment below, or email ct.letters@jpress.co.uk