‘An energy company’s bid to drill for shale oil and gas in the UK’s newest national park has been rejected.
On Thursday, the 11 officials on the planning committee of the South Downs National Park Authority voted unanimously to turn down an application by Celtique Energie to undertake exploratory drilling as a precursor to fracking at Fernhurst in West Sussex.
Margaret Paren, the authority’s chair, 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.”
But while local residents who had opposed the application celebrated and waved placards outside the planning meeting in Midhurst, Celtique Energie immediately said it believed ministers would overturn the decision if it appealed the decision.’