Anti-fracking protestors have begun to shut down their camp outside an exploratory drilling site near the West Sussex village of Balcombe.
After two months of protests, which saw over 100 people arrested including Brighton Pavilion MP and former Green party leader Caroline Lucas, the campaigners have begun to withdraw.
Energy company Cuadrilla had been carrying out exploratory drilling at the site to investigate its potential for shale gas extraction by the controversial process of fracking.
But the firm packed up its equipment and vacated the site last week. It has requested planning permission to carry out ‘flow tests’ to test for oil and determine the potential rate of extraction at the well, after test drilling found oil in rock samples. The well has been closed off while the company seeks fresh planning permission.
The campaigners have pledged to withdraw by October 8, but have warned that they will return if Cuadrilla resumes operations at the site.
Daniel White, who protested in Balcombe, said, “We are here having a general tidy-up and discussing where our next site will be – Manchester, Lancashire – we are going all over the place.
“We will be doing this worldwide to stop fracking. This is something that needs to stop. I think we have had a huge impact.”
Another campaigner, Pam Lucas, from London, said, “This has been a minor victory for us, but we haven’t won the war yet.”