Kirdford and Wisborough Green

Residents demonstrate in Wisborough Green

VICTORY! In July 2014, West Sussex County Council’s planning committee rejected plans by Celtique Energie to drill for oil on the border between Kirdford and Wisborough Green, two villages situated in the heart of the West Sussex countryside.

Celtique Energie had applied in September 2013 to drill exploratory oil wells, a vertical well over 2,600 m deep and a horizontal well 1,800 m deep, about 500m away from the nearest home.

The campaign group Keep Kirdford and Wisborough ‘Green’ (KKWG) campaigned vigorously against the plans. They lobbied planning committee members, submitted a 95-page objection accompanied by specialist reports concerning transport issues, conservation, noise and water, and fielded three speakers at the planning committee.

A key concern was the impact of site traffic on local roads. To highlight the unsuitability of the route that HGVs would have to take to the site, KKWG hired a flatbed lorry and made a video of the vehicle driving the specified route from the A272 to the proposed site, narrated by actor James Bolam, a local resident and member of KKWG. The county highways department formally objected to the application on the grounds of road capacity and safety.

In November 2014, Celtique Energie appealed the decision – but five months later, they withdrew their appeal.

KKWG helped set up the Weald Action Group and has supported other groups fighting onshore oil and gas applications.