It's taken nine days, but despite the ever-growing number of protesters, an oil exploration company today began its test drilling at Balcombe in Sussex. David Johns reports.
Click to see aerial views. Energy company Cuadrilla has confirmed that it has started test drilling for oil at Balcombe in Sussex. Protesters have been attempting to prevent trucks entering the site.
Cuadrilla have confirmed that they have started drilling at 11.15am this morning.
They are drilling a 300,000ft vertical well looking for oil.
The say they have approval from all necessary authorities - like West Sussex County Council, Environment Agency, HSE.
Energy company Cuadrilla say that have not started drilling but have starting testing equipment ahead of fracking in Balcombe.
The anti-fracking protests at the site have entered its ninth day which has in turn delayed the project.
A Cuadrilla spokesman said: "Drilling could start later on friday."
Campaigners fear the project at Lower Stumble could lead Cuadrilla to go on to conduct hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
It's been eight days since anti-fracking protesters arrived in Balcombe to stop attempts at drilling for oil. Today, they tried a new tactic - blocking the road with a disused fire engine.
They said they had enough food and water to stay put for a week. But the police had other ideas. as David Johns reports.
Protesters fighting plans to drill for oil and shale gas in Sussex have blocked the entrance to the woodland site.
The anti-fracking campaigners in Balcombe locked themselves in an old fire engine. Police are trying to remove them. The energy firm Cuadrilla had hoped to begin exploratory digging this week.
A fire truck being used by activists at the site of a mass protest over exploratory oil drilling in West Sussex has been removed. The antique engine was brought onto the site at Balcombe by protesters to block the road. They then bolted themselves to it inside and on the roof.
Those involved have been removed and taken into custody by police. They are hoping to reopen the road into the site shortly.
Police have constructed scaffolding to remove protesters from a fire truck at Balcombe. Hundreds of activists have gathered at the site in West Sussex to show their concern about exploratory drilling by energy company Cuadrilla.
Several of the environmentalists bolted themselves inside and on the roof of a fire truck at the site. The protestors inside have been removed and arrested.
Officers have used the scaffolding to climb on top of the fire engine to remove the remaining participants.