England: Protesters close road near Cuadrilla drill site

Sept. 5, 2013 at 8:05 AM

BALCOMBE, England, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Police in the southeast British village of Balcombe said a main road was closed Thursday by protests against drilling by Cuadrilla Resources.

Cuadrilla Resources this week announced it pulled an application for a six-month extension to its oil exploration operations at Balcombe, a village in West Sussex.

The West Sussex County Council confirmed the decision in a statement.

"Any future applications for Balcombe, or by other companies in other locations, will be considered by [a county] planning committee, which will consider all the evidence and representations during a consultation period, following the normal planning process," it said.

Cuadrilla faced widespread protests at its drilling site. Environmental advocates said they feared the company's drilling campaign was a prelude to hydraulic fracturing. The drilling practice, dubbed fracking, is viewed as a threat to regional ecosystems and groundwater supplies.

Sussex police said in a statement a main road in Balcombe was closed in both directions "because of an anti-fracking demonstration."

Cuadrilla said it was drilling a conventional well during its exploration campaign. The company said it would submit a new application for drilling. The new permit would not call for any fracking.

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