The Lower Stumble drill site is situated a mile south of Balcombe, between the road and the railway. A hardcover surface has been prepared, and a shallow hole drilled.
Longitude 0 degrees 7 mins 49.800W seconds
Latitude 51 degrees 2 mins 49.200N seconds
West Sussex County Council planning department confirm that under the current planning permission operating company Cuadrilla has provision to use hydraulic fracturing at this test borehole. This is contested by Cuadrilla who recently stated: ”There are no plans, or regulatory approval, for hydraulic fracturing to take place at this stage.”
The company’s own documents, however, contradict their recent statement. As part of the planning application the company states: “There may be a need to stimulate … by pumping water under pressure into the natural fractures in the shale formations to open them up to allow the gas to flow more freely.” (see page 9 of Appendix C & below).
Thus the company is in the peculiar position of denying what it’s own application has applied for. The planning documents are clear, however: the company has the provision to use hydraulic fracturing at the Lower Stumble site.
Planning application on the WSCC website:
Breakdown of the exact drilling process (appendix C of the planning application): http://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/8-appendix-c-the-drilling-operation.pdf
More details about the site here