Balcombe Residents against Fracking?

There has been much discussion in the media and elsewhere about the percentage of Balcombe residents that is opposed to fracking. Some factual information may be of assistance in clarifying the situation.

A year ago, when it appeared that fracking at Lower Stumble was a distinct possibility, Balcombe Parish Council conducted a poll of residents. A copy of the flyer that was widely distributed announcing the results of the poll is copied below, and speaks for itself.

When Cuadrilla announces its future intentions for the site, and if those intents are to seek the necessary approvals for extraction, Balcombe Parish Council will consider holding another poll to establish resident’s views on how the Parish Council should respond to those intentions.

Balcombe Parish Council

Fracking Poll Results (2012)

During August and September the Parish Council conducted a poll to establish the views of the residents on the attitude to fracking that the Parish Council should adopt.

A polling card was delivered to every residence in the Parish (approx 750 houses) and, when the poll closed on 10th September, 284 polling cards had been returned. 234 (82%) expressed the view that the Parish Council should oppose fracking, 30 that it should not, 16 had no strong views, and 4 polling cards were invalid. 270 respondents (95%) indicated that they had read the working group’s report.

Residents were invited to give the reasons for their views on their polling cards. Of those opposed to fracking, 125 did so. The top ten concerns, and the number of people who mentioned each, were as follows:

1. Increase in road traffic through the village 46
2. Pollution of water supplies 36
3. Impact on the environment 28
4. Risks, but no benefits, for Balcombe 27
5. Too many unknowns 23
6. Impact on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 15
7. Effect on property values 14
8. Tremors, landslip or subsidence 14
9. Ethical considerations 11
10. Effects on the railway infrastructure 8

The Parish Council will have no direct role in any decision making on whether or not fracking will be permitted within the Parish. However the majority view of those residents who participated in the fracking poll is quite clear and the Parish Council will promote this view if and when any exploration for oil involving fracking is proposed within the Parish.

Cuadrilla has said that, at this time, it has no plans to seek the drilling licence that it would need before it could drill an exploratory well at Lower Stumble. It has said that it will give the Parish Council advance warning of any further activity that it intends on the site.

The Parish Council is committed to informing residents as soon as it learns of any further activity intended at the Lower Stumble site.

Rodney Saunders
Balcombe Parish Council

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