* Celtique Energie planned to test for shale in West Sussex
* 'Too many issues of concern,' says West Sussex councillor
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, July 22 A plan by London-based oil and
gas exploration firm Celtique Energie to drill for shale gas in
southern England failed to win county government approval on
Tuesday, the latest in a series of setbacks to Britain's
fledgling shale industry.
Citing concerns about noise and the impact on the
environment, West Sussex County Council's planning committee
rejected the firm's application for permission to explore for
oil and gas in Wisborough Green for three years.
"There were simply too many highways issues and other issues
of concern for any decision other than refusal in this
instance," Councillor Heidi Brunsdon, chairman of the committee,
said in a statement.
In fracking, companies pump water and chemicals at high
pressure deep underground to release oil and gas trapped in
layers of rock.
Fracking wells will in the next few years be critical to
establishing whether shale gas can be commercially produced in
The technique has led to a lot of public opposition in
Britain over its environmental impact, including protests last
year against Cuadrilla Resources when it was getting ready to
drill a well in West Sussex.
Celtique Energie could not immediately be reached for
Celtique holds 16 licences for exploratory drilling in five
countries in Europe, it says on its website. It holds four
licences for the Central Weald basin in southern England, which
is estimated to hold a substantial amount of untapped reserves
of gas or oil.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Jane Baird)