Exploratory fracking in Balcombe, UK


The conflict consists of prospections and further extract shale gas through fracking. There is a strong opposition from the local and regional community that has been extended throughout the whole country. There was an official poll in which 85% of local population declared themselves against the fracking prospections. Nevertheless, the government granted the permits and the local population perceive the process and the activity as a deeply lack of democracy.

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Basic Data
NameExploratory fracking in Balcombe, UK
CountryUnited Kingdom
ProvinceWest Sussex
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Shale gas fracking
Specific CommoditiesShale Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThey are in the exploratory phase. The Company is drilling a well.

Project Area (in hectares)5
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population1765
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesCuadrilla
Relevant government actorsUK government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNo Fracking in Balcombe Society, No Dash for Gas, Frack off, Disabled people against the cuts, Fuel Poverty Action, Sussex Extreme Energy Resistance, Gasfield Free Sussex, Lewes Against Fracking, Ribble Estuary Against Fracking
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Protest camp Protests at offices and houses of Members of the English Parliament.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Withdrawal of company/investment
36 arrested people
Development of Alternativesfurther develop renewable energies
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Due to the social pressure, especially during summer 2013, the company withdrew an application to extend drilling and horizontal well testing at a site near Balcombe beyond September 28.
Sources and Materials

Relevant legilation:
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Shale gas drilling is currently only in the exploratory phase in the UK. It is covered by the normal UK regime for all oil and gas exploration and development. A UK Petroleum Exploration and Development licence (PEDL) allows a company to pursue a range of exploration activities, including exploration and development of unconventional gas, subject to necessary drilling/development consents and planning permission.


What price? ( A short film documenting the coming together of local residents of Balcombe and anti-fracking campaigners on a single issue: to stop Cuadrilla undertaking exploratory drilling in West Sussex):
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Videos by you and I films:



Frack off:
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No dash for gas:
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Anti-fracking campaigners target Cuadrilla HQ:
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Fracking protesters march in Sussex in biggest show of strength so far:
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Gas driller freezes plans in rural Britain after fracking protests:
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Media Links

Balcombe anti-fracking protest in pictures:
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Reclaim the power pictures:
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One man stop (Anti-fracking activist climbs a loaded lorry exiting the Balcombe Cuadrilla site and d-locks himself to the vehicle blockading the road)
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Nicki locked onto Balcombe gate (Nicki, a lecturer in environmental sciences and local community member, locks onto Cuadrillas site gate in Balcombe attempting to delay access):
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Reclaim the power camp invitation:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update08/04/2014