West Sussex County Council in fracking talks with protestors

The anti-fracking protestors outside WSCC HQ in Chichester.
The anti-fracking protestors outside WSCC HQ in Chichester.

ANTI-FRACKING campaigners met with West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith for a second time today (December 18).

The private meeting follows on from a meeting last month after protestors camped out at County Hall.

The group which met with Cllr Goldsmith previously included representatives of anti-fracking groups from Balcombe, Wisborough Green, and Fernhurst as well as the people camped outside County Hall.

Today’s meeting comes hot on the heels of the national news, that fracking companies could get licences for gas exploration on up to 60 per cent of British land.

After last month’s meeting Cllr Goldmith, said: “We have agreed to meet the same group again when we will discuss how best to facilitate a wider event to look at all aspects of fracking.

“I hope we made the point clearly that as a planning authority, we have to be independent and impartial when dealing with any application for planning permission.

“It would be wrong to pre-judge any application, and these have to be dealt with on their merits.

“We had a very constructive exchange of views, and it is clear there is a need for a national debate on this issue.”

Vanessa Vine, of Frack Free Sussex, said ‘productive meetings’ were held between activists and council officials.

She said: “It remains to be seen whether West Sussex County Council really is engaging meaningfully with this literally vital issue for residents of West Sussex, or whether the assurances are merely mollifications designed to tidy up the protectors on their front lawn and pass responsibility for energy infrastructure decisions on to national government.”

Details of today’s meeting have not yet been released by the council.