East Sussex County Council answers questions about fracking in this document.

Meeting to be held in Uckfield about fracking

Fracking is the subject of a meeting to be held at the Luxford Centre in Library Way, Uckfield, tomorrow night (Thursday, September 11).

Notices have gone up around town about the meeting which is to be held at 6.45pm. It is also being promoted on a website, Frack Free Sussex, and a Facebook page of the same name.

No contact details are given for the organisers on the town notices or online.

The meeting is one of three being organised in East Sussex. Two more are being held in Heathfield and Hailsham.

They come as the Department of Energy and Climate oversees the 14th round of bids for onshore oil and gas licences. Companies have until October 28 to submit applications.

There has not been any exploration in East Sussex since the early 1980s but there are operational sites in West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire and the Government expects applications for new licences to cluster around areas already licensed.

East Sussex County Council has produced a document giving answers to frequently asked questions about fracking and says about the county: “Geological conditions make the presence of shale gas a probability. However, until exploratory wells are drilled into the shale rock we do not know the amounts for sure,” says the document.

It says that one of the first UK wells to find shale gas was drilled in the centre of East Sussex in 1875. Then in 1896 a well at Heathfield produced gas to light the local railway station. It provided supplies into the 20th Century.

The council document says planning applications for exploration, appraisal and production of shale gas and oil would be determined by the county council. “There are no current planning permissions (or applications for planning permission) for oil and gas exploration, including fracking, in East Sussex.”

But it does say some Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences have been granted for certain parts of East Sussex – according to a map they are close to the county border with Mid Sussex in the area of Haywards Heath -  for on-shore drilling and exploration.

The licences do not give permission to drill but give companies “exclusive rights to invest the considerable time and resources needed to explore and appraise the extent of oil and gas reserves, and possibly move on to production”.

Follow this link to read the complete council document on Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)

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