MP RAISES OBJECTIONS TO OIL DRILLING AT ARRETON

Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, has submitted formal objections to plans for oil drilling at Arreton.

The application, submitted by UK Oil and Gas Plc (UKOG), proposes the construction, operation and decommissioning of a well site at Arreton for the exploration and appraisal of hydrocarbon minerals – something Mr Seely says is unsuitable and which could jeopardise the Island’s biosphere status.

Mr Seely said the plans would have a negative impact on the environment, increase the Island’s carbon footprint and significantly increase traffic in the area. He also said the plans were visually intrusive and not in line with the commitment the Island made last year when it gained UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status.

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He has said:

“It is important that we carefully consider any inward investment into the Island, particularly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and I recognise that the oil and gas industry is important to the UK, however, it is entirely inappropriate for the Isle of Wight.

“Our Island is 94% rural and 50% AONB, with 28 miles of Heritage Coast, and 395 local wildlife sites. Oil exploration here could threaten this.

“We worked hard to gain UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status last year and we should not jeopardise that. I therefore cannot support plans that could harm the Island’s conservational status. We must look to preserve our environment and keep it safe for future generations.

“The Island has a unique opportunity to pioneer tidal energy, recycle 100% of its own waste, develop a smart grid, and reduce the use of oil-based plastics. We must press on with ideas that make us greener and more sustainable.”

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A copy of Bob’s objection is below.

Objection to the construction, operation and decommissioning of a well site for the exploration and appraisal of hydrocarbon minerals, Arreton

Since 2017 I have campaigned to protect our unique and special environment. I am today outlining my opposition to restarting oil exploration on the Island.

The Oil and Gas industry is important to the UK. However, it is not appropriate for the Isle of Wight. Specifically,

  1. The application is contrary to the “strong links” between the Island Plan Core Strategy (2012) and Eco Island. Eco Island pledged to have the lowest carbon footprint in England by 2020. The Core Strategy plans to “create wealth whilst reducing our carbon footprint”. The application will increase our carbon footprint.
  2. DM17 of the Island plan plans to “restrict traffic growth by 2.3% per annum”. The site will increase traffic by up to 15 two-way HGV movements and 30 two-way personnel trips per day. It has been recommended for refusal by Island Roads because it is a “hazard to both site and highway users”.
  3. The Tourism Development Plan used by the Core Strategy observes a demand for “high environmental excellence” and minimisation of greenfield development. The application is visually intrusive, on farmland, and has negative environmental associations.
  4. In 2019, we became a UN Biosphere, a “learning sit[e] for sustainable development”. Restarting oil exploration does not demonstrate our commitment to this designation.

More generally, we need to preserve our conservational status. Our Island is 94% rural and 50% AONB, with 28 miles of Heritage Coast, and 395 local wildlife sites. We have been celebrated by Tennyson and Keates, settled by Romans. We tread on geology of chalk cliffs and Jurassic coast hundreds of millions of years old. Oil exploration detracts from our status as an environmental hotspot.

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Second, the development conflicts with our economic aims. Our visitor economy is worth £520 million annually.  Oil exploration may threaten that.

Third, we need to make sustainability part of the Island’s identity. The UK was the first to undergo the industrial revolution. We are now the first major economy to aim for net zero. We are embarking on an era of reform: legally binding targets on environmental improvement, biodiversity, air quality and resource efficiency; more powers for local authorities to act; an independent environmental regulator. What we are doing is making a difference – greenhouse emissions are down more than 40% compared to 1990 levels. We have cut sales of plastic bags by 90% since 2015. We will work to avoid all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. The Island has a unique opportunity to pioneer tidal energy, recycle 100% of its own waste, develop a smart grid, and reduce the use of oil-based plastics. We must not put off this action.

Restarting oil exploration on the Island has the potential to harm the Island’s conservational status, economic aims, and identity as a sustainability leader nationally. I therefore oppose this application.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Karn Evil 9
Karn Evil 9
1 year ago

It will create jobs Bob, isn’t that what you are always spouting on about, oh no hold on, this isn’t tourism is it. Hypocrite.

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Karn Evil 9
1 year ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure oil companies bring their own crews to work their sites. Therefore, I can’t imagine this will create any substantial number of Island jobs. And surely you can understand why Mr Seely wants to protect Island tourism? A huge number of Islanders rely on it for their income.

Miss Angry
Miss Angry
1 year ago

Let them drill, Arretton got rid of a money spinner in the Motocross. Then they got the bio mass plant which they said wouldn’t smell, it stinks every time you drive past, stupid 30mph speed limit (except by the school)should be 40mph and don’t get me started on the flooding there when it rains considering how many times they have resurfaced the road there. Too many snobs live there. By the way all our recycling goes to the mainland and then off to another country

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Miss Angry
1 year ago

I can understand your disappointment with the developments that have happened at Arreton in the past, however I don’t agree that we should condone making it worse. If you think the 30mph speed limit is bad, try getting stuck behind oil tankers going in and out of the site. What’s more, by allowing the drilling, we’d be opening ourselves up to at least 10 weeks of roadworks to create the access route to the site. If you don’t like driving through Arreton how it is now then don’t “let them drill”.

Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
1 year ago

I hope they do find oil at Areton as it will provide jobs on the Island.

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
1 year ago

What kind of jobs do you imagine this will create? As far as I’m aware, oil companies bring their own crews to sites so no Islanders would be employed in the actual drilling. Plus, I’m unconvinced that the potential damage to tourism jobs would be worth a couple of dozen jobs at Arreton.

Mr Peart
Mr Peart
1 year ago

Well said Bob. We don’t want this tiny oil company whose shares and shareholders are woeful.
 
The company is only funded by a trickle of oil from Horse hill, and is kept going by issuing ever more shares.
 
Shareholders are now assuming it is just a means to keep it afloat and give the board of directors a nice little income, not from what they find, but by the shareholders cash.
 
Should an environmental incident happen, UKOG don’t have cash to rectify any major incident, and unless fully insured would be at risk of fiscal collapse leaving the Islanders to pay to clean up contaminated underground water and crop growing fields.
 
At last Bob is on the right track.
 
Oil is a dying fuel source, so lets ‘keep it buried’.

Perry Hill
Perry Hill
1 year ago

Our MP is right. This oil company and its shareholders are only interested, naturally, in profit.   The Island has far more to lose than they have to gain.   As our Island is known for tourism and agricultural industries, both don’t sit well with the extraction of smelly, dirty oil.   As oil consumption is on the decline, YET tourism will now rise as stay at home hols become widespread it would be a terrible mistake to allow this now.   UKOG have already on another mainland site had oil contaminate water, and have had to have tankers take away the oil and water mix to have it treated at huge expense, hence their shares have not been so low for years.   One disaster of this scale here could force the company into bankruptcy, and then we would be left with the clean up costs and lasting damage… Read more »

Martin
Martin
Reply to  Perry Hill
1 year ago

Perry Hill you are either misinformed, scaremongering or lying about UKOG water contamination at other sites as it does not exist.
Conventional drilling is very safe & highly regulated.

This application falls outside the area of outstanding natural beauty & is in a industrial area of the island. Industry is needed as well as beauty & tourism in all areas of the UK & they have all worked together near Wytch farm on South coast for many years bringing prosperity & torrists to the area without issue. It is important to ensure a balance so that certain areas of the country do not need to be over industrialised more than others.

It is quite clear from the article that more than 1/2 of the island is covered by the area of ANB for the island to remain sustainable it needs to play it’s part in the islands & UK economy.

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

what are “torrists”?

Martin
Martin
Reply to  Nathan Stubbings
1 year ago

Nathan, Thank you for picking up on my only mistake & I really have to say after looking at your other comments how extatic I am that you can only wholeheartedly agree with all the other points in my 2 comments.

At this rate the whole of the IOW will be supporting UKOG’S oil exploration & looking forward to celebrating the 6% royalty that the island will receive from the IOW revenue to support it’s local services & the community.

2thepoint
2thepoint
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

Martin, THIS is cut from an RNS from UKOG only two weeks ago, and their share price has dropped to the lowest for YEARS since that report:   “After the initial reported high HH-2z oil rates, significant formation water ingress was observed, requiring the successful installation of a Thermatek plug to isolate the water inflow. It is now clear from the image logs recorded in the well, that both the oil and water flow originated from a series of extensive natural fractures, primarily at the toe of the well, although there are also further natural fractures observed higher up in the well. The plug was initially successful in returning flow to the reported high oil cut, however water cut built up, necessitating the well to be produced intermittently as the water disposal costs outweighed oil revenues.”   This is just a portion of the full RNS, which can be found… Read more »

Martin
Martin
Reply to  2thepoint
1 year ago

2the point If that is your belief then it is a question of peoples misunderstanding of what they are reading or what they are being told. My understanding is that most oil wells produce water especially if they come across a natural fractures. The reality is this has nothing to do with a environmental disaster or the oil leaking into human water supply’s. The reason for the current issue relating to the cost of water disposal from HH2 is that at the present time UKOG as the operator has to have the water shipped from the site, treated & disposed of at a waste depot. What should happen in future is that the water well that is agreed in the permanent planning permission will be drilled & the water that has been separated by the water & oil separator will be disposed of on site in the water well re-injecting… Read more »

Toto
Toto
1 year ago

I can’t believe anyone who lives on our beautiful island can be in favour of this terrible idea. If jobs are all that matters we should cut down all the trees and sell the wood, concrete over the rest and use it for overspill parking for the mainland. If anyone is that desperate to live near an industrial site the ferries are now running more regularly and there are plenty of shiteholes to live by on the other side of the water. We have to look after our island and leave our children somewhere decent to live and maybe make them proud of us that we stood up to big industry.

Martin
Martin
Reply to  Toto
1 year ago

Toto

That is a lovely dream!

Unfortunately reality is somewhat different & the IOW needs to pay it’s way as it has & will continue to need the support of the UK in it’s future despite what some may believe & there is plenty of opposition on the island against may types of development especially for energy & fuel.

Unfortunately without it life would become very difficult as there would be no agriculture or tourism so think on!

The sustainability of life on the island is very dependant on the UK & UKOG aims to help that sustainability with it 6% of revenues as royalties.

Toto
Toto
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

I do hope you are getting paid well as the spokesperson for UKOG.
I would say that you are a patronising prat but everyone has a right to their opinion.

JHVF
JHVF
1 year ago

A bit mis-informed, the visual intrusion will only be while they’re drilling, probably a few weeks and if they find the same as they did the last time they drilled at Arreton it will be capped and nothing will be seen. If they were lucky enough to find a viable oil supply there would be a pump and pipes to take it away. Never seen so much waffle about a perfectly normal activity.

Perry Hill
Perry Hill
Reply to  JHVF
1 year ago

Rubbish. It is NOT that simple.
UKOG have drilled on one of their other sites and had underground water leach into the oil. This has to be carried away by tankers to be cleaned at huge expense. HENCE their share price is now as low as it has been for years.
 
Check out their shareholders chat on LSE UKOG share chat.
 
Cant give link as site doesn’t allow such.
 
Investors far from happy or confident. Should a similar event happen here it would be a disaster for underground water sources and ruin water now used for drinking and for crop watering. Check it OUT, before telling others, it is a simple as a drill and stick a pipe in the hole.
 
IT ISN’T

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

Bob Sealy & the IOW seem to of not taken any account of the UK governments commitment to oil exploration commitment to oil exploration when going for its biosphere status.

This licence was issued for the UK government which sold the PEDL licence through the OGA covering the IOW & remains a commitment to the whole of the UK & its economy. Award or no award. If the IOW does not want to be part of the UK maybe it should be voting for independence. Then we will see if it will sink or swim?

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

Well, Wizard125, how nice to see you somewhere other than the UKOG LSE shareholder chat. You seem to be missing the fact that a UNESCO Biosphere listing will benefit the whole of the UK, as it shows a commitment to a working relationship between human life and the environment. The more UNESCO Biospheres the UK has, the better. In fact, if the Island were to “float” away as an independent country, the UK would be losing a very large asset in terms of the UK’s environmental standing. I seem to remember that you once commented that the IOW application would be “well received” as Islanders were “very receptive and progressive”. I think, given the fact that you’ve taken the time to comment here (out of your busy schedule as a keyboard warrior for UKOG) you may regret your comments about Islanders’ attitudes. You were right in one regard; we’re progressive.… Read more »

Martin
Martin
Reply to  Nathan Stubbings
1 year ago

I see your points as a NIMBY are very one sided & you have failed to address the relevant points in my post.

Should the IOW council choose to do the same I am sure that it will not be the final decision made on the matter which is likely to bring a less desirable outcome of the objectors. We should see shortly how the Surrey council internal investigation plays out & what is the best way forward.

Nathan Stubbings
Nathan Stubbings
Reply to  Martin
1 year ago

Martin, how easy it is for you to brand all opposition as NIMBYs! And I understand why you do this; NIMBYs don’t think of the whole of the UK when they make their case. However, I have never shown the slightest bit of support for the NIMBY attitude. My oppositions comes down to two main points:   Arreton is a terribly inconvenient location for drilling compared to other potential locations.   We shouldn’t be going in for new oil drilling/exploration ANYWHERE.   I completely agree with some of the points you’ve made about Islanders resisting green energy alternatives as part of an ingrained NIMBY mindset. However, that doesn’t give you the right to try and overrule the arguments of others by declaring them to be NIMBYs. As for this “point” you keep making about the Island gaining 6% royalties, I think you may need to reword it. I may be… Read more »

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