Fracking firm’s national park drilling plans rejected

A fracking company’s proposals to explore for shale oil and gas in South Downs National Park has been rejected.

Celtique Energie had submitted an application for the installation of a well and associated infrastructure, including access road for a temporary period of three years.

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) however refused planning permission for exploratory drilling, saying the Committee’s decision was “unanimous and very firm”.

Margaret Paren, Chair of the SDNPA said: “The applicant has failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances exist and that it would be in the public interest for such exploration to take place within the protected landscape of the South Downs.

“Planning permission was also refused because of the adverse impact on the tranquillity and amenity of the National Park.”

A rejection looked likely after the SDNPA planning officers recommended the committee to turn down the bid last week.

Geoff Davies, CEO of Celtique Energie said the decision “fails to take into consideration the importance of this project to the nation” and claimed that “in the face of Government policy, operators are being deliberately prevented from exploring in the south-east of England”.

He added: “Our application was totally compliant, comprehensive and of high-quality. We believe it has been refused on subjective and unjustified grounds. We believe this proposal would be supported by the Planning Inspectorate or the Secretary of State in the event of an appeal. We are considering our further options and will make a decision in due course.”