Cuadrilla was granted planning permission by West Sussex County Council to undertake exploration work at the Balcombe well location in 2010.
In 1986, energy company Conoco drilled an exploration well on the same site that Cuadrilla will use, situated half a mile from Balcombe village. According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) records, more than 50 oil and gas wells have already been drilled in the county.
In May 2013, we held a public information event to inform local residents about our proposed activities. The information that was made available at that event, including the exhibition boards, can be found via this link – Download PDF
Permits and Permissions
Cuadrilla is in receipt of all relevant permits to conduct its exploratory drilling operations at Lower Stumble, Balcombe.
As with all other oil and gas operators in the UK, Cuadrilla’s operations will be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Cuadrilla has been granted a Radioactive Substances Regulation (RSR) Environmental Permit from the Environmental Agency (EA). This allows Cuadrilla to undertake the management of water that may contain Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMS) returned from the well during the testing stage of the exploratory drilling operation.
Balcombe RSR Permit
Application forms for RSR permit
Cuadrilla was issued a Compliance Assessment Report (CAR) Form in August 2013, in line with EA regulations. The CAR form confirmed that Cuadrilla was in full compliance with all regulations it is subject to. The report is available to view via this link.
You can also find the latest EPR Compliance Assessment Report from the Environment Agency (EA) via this link. The report confirms Cuadrilla’s operations in Balcombe remain compliant with the EA.
In July 2013, Cuadrilla were issued with a Mining Waste Permit by the EA. For information relating to the permit please see below:
Application forms for Mining Waste Permit
Air Quality & Water Monitoring
In addition to the monitoring by the EA, Cuadrilla has appointed Ground-Gas Solutions (GGS) to complete independent environmental monitoring at the Balcombe Exploration Site. The remit set for their monitoring work was to test air quality, groundwater and surface waters and as part of Cuadrilla’s environmental due diligence and in accordance with our permitting requirements.
This final report compiled by GGS represents a summary of the environmental data obtained during the drill-phase of operations at the site. The final report should be read in conjunction with The interim report previously issued by GGS. These results will be considered against future operational programmes and help to set ambient levels at the site. The site is continuously monitored by GGS who have since produced subsequent monitoring reports.
2 August 2013 – Cuadrilla commenced test drilling at the Balcombe site. We have full planning and regulatory approval for this work from DECC, WSCC, the EA and the HSE. The first stage involves drilling a 3,000ft vertical well. We will provide further updates as test drilling proceeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
In May 2013, Cuadrilla issued a statement to Balcombe Parish Council answering some common questions on the planned activity. The statement can be downloaded here.
We have also published a statement about the presence of pre-existing thermogenic gas in areas of West Sussex, which can be read here