Summer Update

We are sorry for the lack of updates from this website. Events took over and we were juggling many things at once. As many of you know, the drill went in overnight at the end of May and UK Oil & Gas have been drilling, showing visitors from the Parish Councils round the site, and thinking about the money.

Regular daily protests have been taking place, including Cake at the Gate, from 11am, at the gates of the site on Adversane Lane, West Chiltington. Everyone is welcome to come to this – especially this Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th July when we will be out in force to protest about the Environment Agency approving the permit extension for UKOG to flow-test, without due care and consideration for the environment – and despite plenty of reasoned opposition to this from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, and Sussex Wildlife Trust, among others. In light of the concerns we have about this process, we would love you to write to Southern Water, asking them how they intend to protect our water supply if there are any accidents. To make it easy, here is a letter to adapt, self-address, date and print, then post. Posted letters still seem more effective compared to emails. Southern Water Letter

A Protection Camp is now set up in the area, helping raise awareness through actions and outreach, as well. Many local campaigners and concerned residents also meet every Saturday, 2pm-4pm, at the green on the Adversane Crossroads, near to the Blacksmith’s Arms. Please join us to find out more.

There will be more events coming up to raise awareness so stay tuned!

You may find more information via the Broadford Bridge Action Group Facebook page, dealing with events and actions regarding the UKOG drilling site on Adversane Lane. This new local umbrella group is a coalition of individuals and local groups who are campaigning against oil drilling in this part of the Weald. You can email them for more info at BBactiongroup@gmx.co.uk

The Bentley Effect motivates Pulborough

Australian anti-fracking community leaders tour Sussex and the UK to bring hope and support for action against oil/gas exploration threat

The leaders of the most successful resistance to oil and gas as development in Australia packed out Pulborough Village Hall and a Brighton venue, at the start of a UK tour of their film the Bentley Effect. The documentary shows what a small rural community in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales were able to do. Their protests led to the Government recalling the license.

Experienced activists and community leaders Ian Gaillard and Simon Clough and filmmaker Brendan Shoebridge paid tribute to their community. They crowdfunded their trip to show their award-winning film that shows how they took on the energy giants and won. Following the successful events in Sussex they encouraged those present to take non-violent direct action too.

Film-maker Brendan Shoebridge said they were keen to start in Sussex as he used to live in the South Downs at Ditchling outside Brighton: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard, after our long fight in Australia that this beautiful part of the world that I know and love, is facing a similar threat. I’ve given up so much to make this film over seven years and believe it can help to inspire others to devote time and energy to stop the threats to their countryside too.”

Campaigner Ian Gaillard added: “We believe we have a critically important message of hope to deliver to threatened communities here in the UK. These communities have been ground down by government support for the frackers, strong arm police tactics and a very negative political environment.”

Several exploratory sites exist in the south of England including Broadford Bridge at Adversane near Billingshurst, Horse Hill in Surrey, Markwell’s Wood and Lidsey near Bognor Regis, placing much of the Weald under threat.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free said:

After seeing the Bentley Effect and meeting these Australian heroes we know what we have to do. It will require a lot of work, commitment and noise from masses of people, but we intend to drum up that level of support to stop this dangerous drilling from going ahead.”

Newsletter 8th May

KBBF Newsletter 11
8 May 2017

First of all, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to our Public Meeting in Pulborough on Sunday 30th April. What a fantastic turn out – well over 150 people, concerned about what’s happening to their local area.

The speakers gave very clear presentations drawing attention to a range of issues. Many of you were surprised to learn that the Broadford Bridge site is located near a fault, a gap in the ground, which Dr Roger Smith from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, CPRE, explained could mean that any liquids/chemicals could transfer, through the system of faults to the public water supply via the River Arun.

Professor David Smythe outlined not only the geology but the flawed economics, explaining that many of the US companies are in debt, with the onshore oil and gas companies representing nothing but a massive Ponzi scheme.  See his ‘Ten Questions to Ask KOGL About Broadford Bridge’ via the link below.

Tom Broughton from Transition Chichester emphasised what communities could do to produce their own forms of energy and Nicola Peel stressed the environmental consequences especially for the climate. See Nicola’s excellent talk again here:
Please pass it on to others interested in the issues who were unable to attend the meeting.

See the excellent Drill Or Drop report on the meeting. Including links to David Smyth’s “Ten questions to ask KOGL”.

And on our response to the UKOG Letter that was delivered to the event and to local residents two days before saying we were ‘scaremongering’.

Many of you at the meeting asked for contact details for you to email your concerns and questions to:

Leader of WSCC:
Louise Goldsmith, Louise.goldsmith@westsussex.gov.uk

WSCC Planners:  
Jane Moseley Jane.moseley@westsussex.gov.uk
Chris Bartlett – Chris.bartlett@westsussex.gov.uk

MP for Arundel and South Downs:
Nick Herbert nick@nickherbert.com
MP for Horsham
Jeremy Quin: jeremy@jeremyquin.com

One MEP very much on our side is
Keith Taylor, keithtaylor@greenmeps.org.uk
Have a look at Keith Taylor’s excellent leaflet on acidisation if you haven’t seen it already:

The four main issues at Broadford Bridge to write to them about are as follows. Choose the one or more that upsets you most and write about it to them in your own words:

1. What permission was given for – this has substantially changed to include new processes not in the original application, such as acidisation and nitrogen lifting. We argue that WSCC should demand a new planning application involving public consultation.

2. The environmental and health impacts associated with the new proposals are greater. Extra impacts would occur in association with the proposed acidisation process which have not been assessed in the Environmental Statement:

  • Chemical use is even greater in acidisation than in hydraulic fracking.
  • Solid and liquid waste will be toxic, highly saline and radioactive, a risk to groundwater, surface water and soil should accidents occur.
  • The EA Midlands office stated that there are no suitable disposal facilities in southern England.
  • The risk of spills and other accidents.
  • Wells may be acidised repeatedly and there is little research on the subject of repeated acidisation, the cumulative effect on our environment and human health.
  • Lack of transparency – e.g. location of “disposal facility” and information limited on transport, cumulative impacts of chemical usage.
  • Absence of discussion of these issues in the Environmental Statement (ES) originally submitted by Celtique Energie.

3. The lack of public consultation about these new plans. There has been no information session provided by WSCC or KOGL. There was a display held in Billingshurst in 2012 before Celtique Energie applied for permission BUT nothing has been said about these new and very different plans.

4. Lack of effective monitoring programme for air, water, soil or health of people and livestock.  Without such baseline monitoring how will people know how such a proposed drilling operation is affecting them?

The Bentley Effect: UK Film Premier plus Q&A with Director and Lock the Gate Alliance,  Australia
Pulborough Village Hall, RH20 2BF

Friday 12 May 6.30-9pm

One another note, we hope to see many of you at the screening of The Bentley Effect, on Friday 12th May, 7pm start at Pulborough Village Hall again.

When the coal seam gas industry staked a claim on the Northern Rivers shire of Australia, alarm bells rang out. A critical mass of people from all walks of life – farmers, landowners, mums, dads, activists, scientists – organised themselves to rally against the unconventional gas invasion.

Filmed over five years, The Bentley Effect documents the highs and lows of the battle to keep a unique part of Australia gasfield-free. This timely story of a community’s heroic stand shows how strategic direct action and peaceful protest from a committed community can overcome industrial might and political short-sightedness.

Various sites in the south of England are about to be drilled – Broadford Bridge, UKOG’s Horse Hill site at Horley, possibly Balcombe. Others such as Leith Hill and Markwells Wood are going through regulatory permissions. Much of the Weald is under threat: this story could be ours. Come and be inspired to take action! There will be a Q&A session following the film with the filmmakers who have travelled to the UK to bring the film here. For more about the film go to: http://www.thebentleyeffect.com

Doors open 6.30pm, screening 7pm til 8.30. Q&A to 9.00pm. Food and drinks available. More info’ about the screening go here 

Saturday gatherings 2-4pm near drill site, RH14 9JH

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free are determined not to let this beautiful area become industrialized by fossil fuel extraction. If you, like us, are concerned please come along and give your support to us at the Adversane Crossroads, outside the Blacksmith Arms between 2pm and 4pm this Saturday. Together we, as locals, need to have our questions answered.

Thanks so much for your continued support.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free

Connect with us  
keepbillingshurstfrackfree@mail.com

PUBLIC MEETING THIS SUNDAY 30th APRIL

JOIN US AT PULBOROUGH VILLAGE HALL TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DRILLING ON YOUR DOORSTEP

We’re holding a public meeting at Pulborough Village Hall, RH20 2BF, this Sunday 30th April, 7-9pm. Everyone welcome.

Hosted by actress Sue Jameson, guest speakers include Professor David Smythe, geologist; Kia Trainer from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE); award-winning environmentalist Nicola Peel and Tom Broughton from Transition Chichester on alternative energy.

We hope that representatives from Kimmeridge Oil and Gas (KOGL) / UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) license-holders of the Broadford Bridge site, West Sussex County Council and the surrounding parish councils will also attend. Come along and find out more about the issues surrounding drilling on your doorstop.

Thank you for your support and hope to see you at one of our events soon. Please contact us via email on keepbillingshurstfrackfree@mail.com for more information.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free

URGENT ACTION!

Object to Environment Agency permit extension by THURSDAY 13th APRIL

Please object to the Environment Agency planning variation request by Kimmeridge Oil and Gas Limited (KOGL), subsidiary of UK Oil and Gas, license holders of Broadford Bridge site, Adversane Lane, RH14 9ED.

Simply write a paragraph or two, or more if you like, including your name and address – unless you don’t want this included – to KOGL’s permit variation to acidise the well at the Broadford Bridge site.

Some of our concerns are the following, which you can use in your objection:

  • Chemical use is greater in acidisation than in hydraulic fracking. Plus, with many chemicals involved in the process, listed on the Safety Data Sheet, there is no specific or further information available. Therefore, the precautionary principle should apply, on the basis of these chemicals having unknown effects, and this permit should be refused.
  • Solid and liquid waste will be toxic, highly saline and radioactive, a risk to groundwater, surface water and soil should accidents occur.
  • The EA Midlands office stated that there are no suitable disposal facilities in southern England.
  • Wells may be acidised repeatedly and there is little research on the subject of repeated acidisation. The cumulative effect on our environment and human health.
  • The risk of spills and other accidents.
  • No nearby accident and emergency department.
  • Lack of public consultation.
  • Absence of discussion of these issues in the Environmental Statement originally submitted by Celtique Energie.
  • The Weald is very faulted. Faults are complex and unpredictable in their hydrogeological behaviour and should be regarded as leaky.  The site is situated near a fault, which could take liquids to the River Arun.
  • Another thing we’ve noticed about this permit variation application is that it’s just been copied and pasted from same application to Surrey County Council for the Horse Hill well, without even changing the details or name, let alone tailoring it to the rural Sussex area its in. This is shocking sloppiness, as if no one would even look at the application, let alone comment on it. Therefore the permit is not valid because the supporting documentation is incorrect.

Overall, we think the new plans need a whole new planning application and public consultation.

It looks like KOGL think no one’s paying attention. Show them we are by objecting to these proposed changes to this permit extension application by filling in the forms here: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/psc/rh14-9ed-kimmeridge-oil-gas-limited/


 

Not April Fools demo – a great success

Wow! What a turn out on Saturday. Thank you everyone for coming along to our Not April Fools protest at the green outside the Blacksmith’s Arms. There were over 60 people from the surrounding areas keen to let our opposition to drilling down Adversane Lane be heard loud and clear.

We made it onto BBC South East bulletin that evening, too.

As well as onto Spirit FM radios website, after they’d publicised it that morning.

We made the front page of the West Sussex Gazette and a great half page report on page 7 of the West Sussex County Times (April 6).

We will continue to meet there every Saturday from 2-4 for anyone who wants to find out more and show solidarity. RH14 9JH. Join us!


 

Newsletter 28 March 2017

Hello everyone,

Thanks so much to those of you who have been coming to say hello on Saturdays when we gather near to the drill site. Your support makes a big difference to all those involved in this campaign.

We’re sorry to say that work has started at the site over the last two weeks in preparation for UKOG’s drill, which is due any day now. Please come along to our protest near the site this Saturday, April 1, at 2pm. We hope for a great show of public support and will be taking photos for circulation in the local and regional press.


IT’S NO JOKE: DRILL DUE ANY DAY

Workers are now on the UKOG drill site at Broadford Bridge (Wood Barn Farm), Adversane Lane. We want to show massive local opposition. Please join us for a photo opportunity at the green, RH14 9JH. Bring your banners, family and friends. We need your support NOW!

Saturday 1 April at 2pm. Next to the Blacksmiths Arms, corner of Adversane Lane, near to the drill site. RH14 9JH


We will be in touch again soon about a public meeting with expert speakers in Pulborough on April 30th. Until then, we look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Thanks for your continued support.

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free

Spring Update

With the oil drill expected imminently at Broadford Bridge, Adversane Lane, the company involved intends to do things for which they haven’t received planning permission.

Local residents have been kept in the dark about plans for drilling at the Broadford Bridge site – and fear unconventional drilling will take place when permission hasn’t been granted. Added to this, the West Sussex County Council website hasn’t been updated with developments either, showing a shocking lack of transparency.

Planning permission was granted for conventional drilling by WSCC in 2013 to Celtique Energie who started constructing the well pad in September 2014. UKOG then bought 100% of the licence from them in June 2016. There was no public consultation in Billingshurst, West Chiltington, Pulborough or elsewhere when UKOG bought the licence – and it appears they plan to do things differently to Celtique.

The new license holders, Kimmeridge Oil & Gas Limited (“KOGL”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of UKOG have stated in their accounts recently released (February 2017) that UKOG’s overall exploration and appraisal strategy is geared towards oil extraction from previously unrecognised naturally-fractured rocks within the Weald. This has not been made clear to residents and there has been no opportunity for consultation, as though the existence of a permission previously granted is for the same process which is clearly not the case.

The exploratory drilling process now intends to take core samples from within the Kimmeridge shale. The geology of the Weald Basin is highly fractured and this form of ‘tight oil’ is very difficult to extract conventionally because it is trapped in low permeability rocks, so usually requires extreme techniques such as high pressure fracturing of the rock and acidisation.

To be economically viable, oil production would require thousands of wells to be drilled across Sussex. Our meadowland, farmland and woodland would be subject to wide-scale industrialisation, causing unfathomable light, noise and air pollution from increased traffic, gas flaring, and drilling, not to mention the potential risk of contaminating the earth or water supply.

 

How you can help right now:

  1. Comment on an environmental permit yet to be given. The Environment Agency has received a new standard application for an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 from Kimmeridge Oil & Gas Limited.

The deadline to comment on this application is 20th March.

Go now to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rh14-9ed-kimmeridge-oil-gas-limited-environmental-permit-application-advertisement

  1. Join our roadside protest and leafleting on the corner of Adversane Lane and the A29 RH14 9JH. We will be handing out information from 2-4pm every Saturday throughout March and would love to see you there. If you can’t stop and chat just a friendly blast on your car horn in support would be appreciated if you are passing.

 

January Newsletter

BILLINGSHURST NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN: HAVE YOUR SAY

Happy new year to all our supporters!

You may have noticed signs around the village encouraging you to get involved and comment on the Billingshurst Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish website explains the purpose of the plan:

http://www.billingshurst.gov.uk/Billingshurs-Parish-Council/billingshurst_parish_neighbourhood_plan-5596.aspx

Since 2012, local communities have been able to produce Neighbourhood Plans for their local area, putting in place planning policies for the future development and growth of the neighbourhood. Statute vests the power in the Parish Council to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development and growth of an area. Neighbourhood Plans relate to the use and development of land and associated social, economic and environmental issues.

This offers an opportunity for people who live in Billingshurst to convey their concerns to the Parish Council about UKOG’s drilling plans. As stated on UKOG’s website, they intend to start drilling in the first half of this year.

There will be consultations for residents at the Community Centre in Roman Way when you can discuss your concerns about the impact drilling may have on our area:

SATURDAY 28th JANUARY 2017 (11.00am – 3.00pm)
THURSDAY 16th FEBRUARY 2017 (6.00pm – 9.00pm)
SATURDAY 4th MARCH 2017 (12.00pm – 4.00pm)

At Adversane Hall on TUESDAY 7th FEBRUARY 2017 (5.00pm -7.00pm).

KBFF have already met with the Parish Council (and MP Jeremy Quinn and Green MEP Keith Taylor) to express our concerns, as we reported in our newsletter at the time. But it’s important that as many of us as possible take this opportunity to express our views about the drill site, relating to potential:

  • Health impacts such as air pollution
  • Increased traffic movements during drilling
  • Wastage of vast quantities of water
  • Noise pollution
  • Industrialisation of our countryside
  • Contamination of our water supplies

All of us at KBBF have been paying close attention to the experiences of those living near the Horse Hill exploration site (the “Gatwick Gusher”). Drilling started 2 years ago by HHDL of which UK Oil & Gas Investments Plc holds 48% of the stake and provides management of the licence. These are recent comments by Alex Gaché, owner of Lomond Classical Riding School, which adjoins the drill site:

For the last 2 years in the field adjoining Lomond there has been drilling for oil. The first year the drill was here for 3 months, last year for 8 weeks and our lives were ruined. The noise, the smell, the disruption to our rural area were changed to such an extent that we did not want to be here. We cannot prove any connection but we had horses with nosebleeds, clients with headaches, oil appeared all over the land. We don’t know what chemicals were coming and going but we had broken pipes pouring water into our fields and ditches (which continue to the river mole). The roads were blocked by protestors (who we do support) so clients could not come in and out.
The company has now put in a planning application to drill another well and continue exploratory work for 3 years. They say they are not fracking but the government has changed the law to make fracking easier so it might not be now but once they are drilled down who knows what they are going to want to do. They are going horizontally too so they could be under your home.
I am obviously very upset that having spent 33 years of building Lomond that this can be allowed next door but I am also for the bigger picture. The oil companies want the whole of the Weald basin to be the next Texas and many other people will suffer as we have. 

We are of the view that Billingshurst residents have not been informed about the reality of drilling, and the potential risks involved, all of which could have a major impact on our quality of life and health, and that of our environment.

We will be urging the Parish Council and those involved in development of the neighbourhood plan to ensure that our views are represented. For our part, we would rather see a move towards safe, clean, renewable community energy projects which will help us all thrive.

Thanks for your support and we will be in touch again soon with information about our next community event.

All the best for 2017,

Keep Billingshurst Frack Free

Connect with us!  
keepbillingshurstfrackfree@mail.com 

No Fracking Way – National Gathering

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JOIN US TO SAY NO TO FRACKING ANYWHERE

Sunday 31st January 2016

The evidence from around the world is growing that fracking can pollute water, air and land. It increases heavy traffic and can decrease the value of properties.

The people of England have had enough. Over 30 towns and cities all over the country will be gathering at the same time to raise our voices in protest against this destructive and unwanted industry. Join us!

Meet at 11am at Horsham Park Bandstand (near the Conservatory Café) for a walk around the town to raise awareness about fracking in our area.

We will make stops at Jeremy Quin MP’s office, then to the main High Street via the West Sussex County Times offices, through the Carfax where we’ll give out flyers and information about fracking in our area, then head onto West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council offices before finishing back at the bandstand.

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Bring banners, posters, flyers to hand out for information about fracking, flags, drums, bells, whistles and wear yellow and black. Everyone welcome!