Information about Cuadrilla's proposed energy exploration in Balcombe, West Sussex.
The energy company Cuadrilla has drilled an exploratory borehole for oil and gas reserves at their site in Balcombe, West Sussex. This page explains our role in this process and gives you more information about the activity.
Roles and responsibilities
Our role in onshore oil and gas exploration is explained on this page:
There are a number of other organisations that play a part in regulating oil and gas exploration. These organisations are also involved in the regulation of unconventional oil and gas exploration and extraction. You can find out about the role of other organisations on this page:
The activity at Balcombe
Cuadrilla has drilled an exploratory borehole for oil and gas reserves. Cuadrilla is no longer carrying out any activities on site, and both the site and borehole are secure. There was no hydraulic fracturing as part of this drilling activity.
Drilling a borehole is not a new technology – more than 200 oil and gas wells have been drilled in East and West Sussex, Kent and Hampshire since 1902. We consider this activity to have a relatively low environmental risk.
We granted Cuadrilla a mining waste permit on Wednesday 24 July 2013 and a radioactive substances activity (RSA) permit on Monday 30 September 2013. The RSA permit is required for the well-testing phase.
Before reaching our decision, we reviewed all the points raised by all consultees during the consultations with communities, interested groups and other professional organisations.
All responses received have been assessed by permitting officers to check carefully whether any issues were raised which had not already been identified and considered, or new information had been presented of which we were not aware.
Our decision documents, which explain how we reached our decision and what the permits allow, and a copy of the permits are available on our consultation website:
We have received a large number of enquiries about the activity at Balcombe and have answered lots of your questions in our 'frequently asked questions' documents:
We carried out a hydro-geological risk assessment as part of our determination for the mining waste permit. This assessment lists the substances that the operator is proposing to use in their drilling activity, and our assessment of them. We also wrote four addendums to the risk assessment. If you would like a copy of this assessment and/or the addendums, please contact us (see 'Contact us' section, below).
We have also carried out baseline monitoring of the local stream and of groundwater before any drilling took place. The report showing the results of this monitoring, as well as all of the sampling results can be viewed here:
For general enquiries about Balcombe or any other oil and gas sites in England, please contact our National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506 506 (telephone from outside the UK: 00 44 1709 389 201, Mon to Fri, 8am to 6pm)
Minicom service, for the hard of hearing: 03702 422 549
This page was updated on 5 November 2013.